10 pm BST / 5 pm EST
Small sea-drakes circled around the crows nest, their small burps of flame keeping the evening’s chill at bay. Crows nest! Ha! In all his years as lookout, Merker had never found a crow up there. Gulls, cormorants, sea-drakes, and the occasional hapless fish, dropped by some passing sea bird, but no crows. Still, over the years, he’d made it comfortable, and the crew depended on his sharp eyes, so it kept him away from the more demanding chores aboard The Ocean’s Claw.
Far below, the crew lounged about, enjoying the last remaining spoils from a their last victim – a Tokuno merchant ship. Crazy Sabbat strutted about in the strange red leggings he’d claimed, wearing a helmet that made him look like a cross between a gargoyle and a vorpal bunny.
Then he spotted something – a mere spec on the horizon, but it was something. He picked up his spyglass, and took a closer look. He wished he hadn’t.
“Man the decks!” he screamed down to the dozing pirates “hoist the mainsail! Kraken! Monsters! Captain! We are all doomed! A swarm of Kraken, approaching at speed!”
“Kraken?” In his cabin, Captain Malo leapt from behind his desk, and grabbed his most mottled brown leggings. Frantically pulling them on, he burst through the door, and started shouting orders.
“Drunken swabs! What’s this sittin’ around drinkin’? Want to be squid food, me hearties? We all heard the lookout – now get us movin’, an in the opposite direction ta yon monstrosities!”
The men, drunk though they were, wasted no time. Captain Malo was to be feared far more than any Kraken, but both of them together was a threat that no pirate wanted to face. The ship began to gain speed, as the spec on the horizon became clearer, writhing tentacles reaching towards the sky.
“You six – man the heavy cannons!” yelled the first mate “If those beasts catch up to us, we’ll make ‘em regret it! The rest of yer, more speed! More speed!!!”
Smaller squids began to appear, leaping out of the waves in a most uncharacteristic fashion. Such speed! The captain groaned. This would not be an easy escape, and might be an even worse battle.
One of the ship’s mages staggered to the rail, sorely regretting the afternoon’s drinking contest, and even more greatly regretting the spells he’d cast to allow him to consume more than his shipmates!
Still, he managed to send several bolts of chain lightning crashing into the waves. Severed tentacles floated to the surface. A frustrated roar came from somewhere behind them, as the krakens gradually closed the distance.
Then, with a shuddering jolt, and a terrible slithering noise, the ship stopped. From his viewpoint above, Merker saw something rising from the sea, engulfing the ship’s figurehead. Had a kraken caught up to them? Perhaps a leviathan? No – this was bigger, and the tentacles were silver-hued … almost glowing. Were those even tentacles, or something else?
The head of the Charybdis rose from the waters, taking a huge bite out of the ship’s prow. Somehow, a shadowy figure, clad in a dripping black hooded robe, stood atop it’s head, glowing reins controlling the beast.
The pirates ran about the deck frantically, as the captain barked orders that no one was listening to.
Three deck-hands managed to turn one of the heavy cannons, and fired at the Charybdis, which did more harm to the ship than the creature. The Ocean’s Claw began to list slightly, just as the first kraken crashed heavily into the stern. Worse, more could be seen advancing across the horizon from every direction!
A writhing fry of eels sprawled across the deck, writhing and biting at anything that moved. The mage’s lightning saw them off, but by this point, several kraken were making short work of the captain’s cabin, the rudder, and the officer’s quarters.
One or two men had the presence of mind to launch a lifeboat, and took off rowing as fast as they could – to no avail. Eels and squid swarmed all over the small craft, until it sank beneath their combined weight. Blood stained the water, as the sun started to dip beneath the horizon.
Merker looked down in horror as he saw his crewmates eaten, torn limb from limb, or simply disappear as they threw themselves into the black waters – waters which were slowly coming closer, as the ship began to sink beneath the waves. What happened to ghosts who were lost at sea, he wondered. He had never seen a ghost cross water. What happened to one that was trapped in the drink? He was certain that this would soon be a mystery no more!
As he watched Captain Malo disappear into the maw of a kraken, a soaking wet figure suddenly threw itself over the edge of the crows nest, and grabbed him by the lapels. “Merker! What are ye just sitting here for, laddie?” barked the blood-stained mage at him “We can’t stay up here!”
Merker looked at him with open mouth .Where was he supposed to go? He was flailing about in the air, atop a mast that would soon disappear beneath the sea! He had no boat!
The mage stared at him in despair, and then grabbed the black pearl that Merker wore around his neck for luck. “Saved!!!” he screamed, waving a handful of soggy herbs under Merker’s nose. “Saehrimnir shall not be supper this night!” With that, he started sprouting even more gibberish. A moongate opened in the air, and the mage dived through, dragging Merker behind him.
They hit the ground near a building that Merker recognised as the bank of Buccaneer’s Den. He staggered to his feet – and just in time. A massive claw came crashing through the gate, hitting the spot where he’d landed. Osiredon! As if the kraken were not enough, they had no hope of survival against a Scalis Enforcer! The claw groped around, trying to keep its prey from escaping. Then, the moongate slammed shut, leaving the claw on the ground, strangely hued blood flowing from it – blood that bubbled and steamed when it touched the ground.
The mage – Saehrimnir, apparently – pulled his tattered robe about him, looked at the claw, and turned abruptly. “Right. If I get paid for that trip, then I’m a pickled Minocan. You’d best be finding lodgings fer the night, sonny – but don’t stay too close ta the water. That thing’ll be right proper unhappy about how you went a-choppin’ off his claw.”
“Me?? I didn’t chop anything off! You made the gate!” Merker spluttered.
“Aye, well, explain that ta that great overgrown slab of seafood when he gets here, would you?”
With that, the tattered one left.
Just when Merker thought his day couldn’t possibly get much worse, a mounted squad of Britannian knights galloped up and surrounded him.
“Right, you horrible little man” said their captain, prodding the claw with his lance “What’s the meaning of all this, then?”
Merker sighed, and came along quietly.
What you need to know
- Gates will be made available at the usual places.
- Juxmani, Son of Batlin, is mounting his first major assault on Blackthorn.
- King Blackthorn will require your assistance in gathering more information about this attack, and dealing with this new threat.
- Much of the event will take place outside the guard zones.