I was lying on the deck, the side of face screaming in pain and my arm twisted awkwardly beneath me. My other hand still had its fingers curled tightly around the hilt of my sword. Someone was looking at me across a wall of flame and a shattered, twisted section of the deck. I saw white-grey fur. Laissa, the other charr. Baen’s mouth moving, shouting something, my name perhaps, but it was lost between the bells in my head and the deafening crack as the mast came tumbling down between us. I saw it, somehow managed to gather enough of myself to roll across the smoking deck as quickly as I could to avoid the worst of it. I tucked myself into a ball as cinders and scraps of burning tackle flew into the air.
“Go!” I shouted, not knowing if anyone could hear me, my tongue thick and my mouth coppery with blood. I flailed wildly with my sword arm. “Go! I’ll get out on my own!” I could barely hear my own voice, but as I staggered to my feet I knew it had been a stupid thing to say anyway. There were a few eyes nearby, but no-one was looking at me I had no way of orienting myself. Everyone was looking around at the mangled bodies of dead pirates, staring at their own horrific injuries, or frantically diving into the water to escape the doomed ship. The creature was nowhere to be seen.