Let's back up a bit to about the time Verra arrived at another leg, and join the Eagle woman for a moment. She waits in another bedroom, this the one that the blind Neshobe was sleeping in earlier. She has already taken the liberty of moving all of the furniture up against a wall on one side to make slightly more room for her wings, which are folded against her back for the moment.
Before long, two people emerge from the pipe that has punched a fresh window into the wall of the room. One of them is a green-skinned orc weilding twin short swords. He roars and charges at Ann while the other, a female Neshobe with white fur (White Grass--we'll talk about them later) aims her repeating crossbow at the eagle-woman. Ann responds by flapping her wings directly toward the pair, using magic to amplify the slight breeze produced into a gust strong enough to blow three crossbow bolts back into the face of their owner, and then stepping forward and using the long reach of her axe to smack the Neshobe in the forehead with its flat side. She collapses, out cold, while Ann blocks an attack from one of the orc's blades. He tries to stab under the axe, but he has to abandon the strike when Ann pushes against his other blade so hard it nearly cuts his ear off. He hops awkwardly backwards, trying to regain his footing, and Ann steps forward and aims another flat-side axe blow at his side. He turns to block this attack, using both blades and both arms, and his whole body gets pushed along the floor a few inches as a result.
Ann keeps pressing the axe against the swords, and despite his best efforts the orc can't keep up with the strength. He ducks aside at the last possible moment and tries to dart in and stab Ann again, hoping that she won't recover in time to block. She swings the axe back and catches him in the side with enough force to knock him over before his sword quite reaches her stomach, and then swings the axe around so the blade is hovering just barely above his neck. To his credit, his face looks determined; Ann, however, merely glares at him.
"You are pathetic." Then she spins the axe to catch him across the face with the flat side, knocking him out.
Whyskars is sitting on a bed in a guest bedroom for overnight passengers, whose wall was breached by another of the spider's legs. Two pirates, a female black-fur Neshobe and a satyr man, lie unconscious on the floor, while another one, a human woman, is wielding a quarterstaff with excellent technique in a battle against thin air.
You're probably wondering why the crew of the Farran are generally trying not to kill their armed assailants; well, most pirates are worth more bounty alive than dead and, other than Verra, this invasion force is full of people that will likely prove easy to keep captive. Anyway, the Fylenis addresses the human in another room. Captain, there were three of them from this entrance. Everything is clear here, but Verra is on the move. How are you doing?
Great. Two here, one down already. Poor fellow must have been new to the pirate racket, he fainted from a shot in the knee.
Our blind friend is occupied with one who came behind Verra. I haven't checked on Ann yet.
Do so now, keep me in if you will.
Ann. How are things in your room?
Not very many of them?
This is suspicious...they should have had an assault team two or three times this size for a job like this. I think Verra has something up her sleeve. Do you sense anyone up there, Whys?
Huh..you know, I don't. Nobody but Callor. For all we know she might have found some way to prevent my detection, though.
Hm..Ann, those pipes go up as well as down. Do you think you'd fit through the one near you?
Well, if you can, go up and take a look around her ship. Maybe break a few things and see if anyone comes out to stop you. If that doesn't work, try going to the front and confronting the pilot. I hear she puts a lot of stock in that man, she would never leave him unguarded. It'll probably keep you safe from her anyway.
Oh, and if things go sour, get out of the ship however you can and fly back to the Farran.
Whys, do you think you could slow Verra down a little bit? I need to finish this lackey before I can deal with her.
Should be no problem, captain. Catch you later.
Whys calmly moves to a quadripedal standing position and leaves the room, pulling his illusory double behind him, and the woman fighting it follows. He moves quickly, but not at a run, through a few different narrow corridors until he sees Verra at the end of one, running his way at that. He places an illusory double behind her to speak for him. "Verra. So nice to finally meet you in person."
"So you're the one who's been keeping me from my work," she says, not turning around. She stabs her blade backwards, halfheartedly; the false Whys dodges to one side.
"I've always wanted to meet you," he 'says', "like any good Cat, I know the rumors. A pirate and criminal, breaking even our laws, and getting away with it."
"You know you can't touch me." She grins, showing off some of her teeth.
"I know the King's mark as well as anyone else. His word is law. I know I can't punish you for your crimes. But there is plenty I can do." The double slashes at her back with a clawed arm, and apparently the cut is rather deep. Verra flinches slightly, but ignores the pain; firmly rejected by her mind, it goes away.
Then she frowns. "You should know I can't stand cheap tricks." Her left eye glows with a pale yellow light, and she looks directly at Whyskars--the real one, despite his magic projecting empty space where he actually is to the optical input of her brain. "I have no trouble seeing the truth."
I see--or rather, you see. A unique spell of two Clans...Is this why the King is so interested in you? She doesn't respond, instead shifting the sword to the form of a curved bow, drawing an imaginary string back and then firing a bolt of lightning at him like an arrow; he knows the attack from her mind before she begins it, and dodges. Then he brings in the double that is fighting the pirate, and has him stand in Verra's place. So you can see the truth. But she can't. The woman tries attacking the image, and in turn Verra, but she dodges and looks the woman directly in the eye. Then, in spite of the full Fylenis' best efforts to shield the woman from it, Verra uses her favorite trick.
Specifically, she takes control of the parts of the woman's mind that link it to the control of her body. This is known as 'puppeteering', and it is a Fylenis crime because it violates free will. She prefers to call it 'manipuleightion'. This skill she has always had quite an aptitude for was the one that allowed her to feed people to her monstrous 'guardian'. This is also how she can casually throw crew members off of her ship without a fight, and how she can easily hijack most airships without so much as setting foot on them. Being so well practiced, she has developed the very specific coordination necessary to control multiple bodies, including her own, at once, and has been reported to fight rather skillfuly with as many as five bodies at once in the past.
Whys uses the pause required to do this to stand upright on his hind legs. When the woman, now controlled by Verra, moves directly toward the real him and tries to crack him with the staff, he dodges around and kicks her ankles out from under her. She isn't quite agile enough to dodge the swipe, and Whys pounces on top of her, knocking the staff against her head and using the brief moment the body is stunned to pull it out of her hands. The puppet gets back up and punches at him, while Verra herself fires another bolt of lightning at him. He dodges both by ducking into another corridor, and when the closer one follows he hits her stomach with the tip of the staff and a lot of force, knocking her back and into a closed door on the other side. She collapses, unconscious, and then her body pulls her back up. Verra, meanwhile, runs up in front of her and slashes at him with her sword. He blocks with the staff, which happens to be made of wood, and immediately flips it back around to knock her in the head. She dodges back out of another swipe of his and the puppet moves in, now holding a spare knife that Verra perhaps gave her, and starts stabbing at him. He dodges to a side from the first shot, then on the next one smacks the side of the staff against the tip of the knife. With the tip stuck slightly into the staff, he deftly spins it back toward him, which pulls the knife and hand holding it for just a second, long enough to throw off her balance slightly. Then he his her wrist as hard as he can with the staff, and it audibly breaks. The puppet's hand is useless for holding much of anything now, and the knife drops to the floor.
Before she can pick it up, he cracks her leg on the other side, not quite breaking it but bringing her to a knee for the time being. Verra responds with another lightning bolt, which he dodges to one side. She abandons the puppet then, jumping over the collapsed body and swinging her sword at Whys, again and again. He blocks every strike, not even losing any ground to her.
Tell me. Do you know why pure Fylenis don't like to really fight?
Whys catches the next blow and spins the staff around to crack Verra in the left shoulder, and she winces, grimaces and attempts another stab, which is promptly deflected to above his shoulder. It's because we believe it's foolish, yes. But if that were not enough... He feints a jab at her stomach, then spins the staff around her block to hit the same shoulder again. It's always either too easy, or life-threatening. And I'm the kind of guy who doesn't take risks he doesn't have to. I just have a different philosophy from you, I suppose. He blocks another side swipe, and then aims for the shoulder again; this time he hits ice, which wasn't there before, and shatters it. Verra, looking positively furious, starts magically condensing more of the moisture in the air into numerous little ice shards. There we go, now you're actually trying.
Whys hops back and moves the staff, not quite spinning it but rather positioning it to catch as many of the shards as possible at each particular time, based on which direction Verra is concentrating with them. He still gets several light cuts across his fur from the ones that do get through. She starts making more of them behind him, and is about to fire them his way when he plays a somewhat dirty trick: He places the sound of captain Conall's voice behind Verra, which says, "Not so lucky now, are you?" Verra turns around to face the voice, and in surprise drops her concentration; all of the magically-levitated ice falls to the ground, and Whys drops the staff to the ground and makes a run for it on all fours, darting through one of two nearby doorways. "The thing about just seeing the truth? It's not enough." He projects a sound like his voice coming from both doorways, behind her, above and below, and doesn't stop running.
The small ship isn't exactly a maze, but Whyskars' audio misdirection is enough to lead Verra the wrong way..and toward where Conall is. I hope you're almost done. She might be a little ticked, by the way.
That is for the best. He is not quite down, but I shall manage. Thank you.
I think we know who we're going to see next. But if you have any more suggestions, now would probably be a good time to put them in.