"The Call of Cthulhu"
Farek extinguished his cigar on the mahogany surface of his desk. His thin fingers were wrapped around a bottle of gin as he leaned back and relaxed, listening to the waves crash rythmically 'gainst the sides of the tower. He ran a hand through his long, salt and pepper hair (still weighing greatly on the side of pepper, to the relief of his robust ego) and worked out, in his mind, potential solutions to the tower's puzzles that still eluded him after two months of non-stop research and tinkering.
After his successful modification for creating gintsunamis proved to be successful, Farek knew that the tower had a myriad of possibilities waiting to be unlocked. One that came to his mind and greatly aroused his interest was the summoning of water creatures.
An idea that from its genesis seemed wild and absurd was the possible conjuring of the legendary Kraken. (known in scientific publications as Architeuthis dux [the giant squid], or in ancient literature as the Cthulhu) Once thought of as a fictional creation of mischevious ancient authors, only found in legend lore, several members Architeuthis dux had washed up along various beaches, proving the myth of the Kraken's existence to be true and casting a new light on the nature of the great beast.
Legend still held the Kraken in its grasp, pervading the ideas about how powerful the great beasts were. Since none had ever been captured or found in a state other than death, it was mere theory and legend (and detailed personal accounts from sailors, pirates, and other seafarers unfortunate [or fortunate] enough to cross its path and live to tell about it) that were the foundations of what scientists, historians, bards, and others knew about the beast.
In the book that lay open upon his desk, a detailed schematic was drawn of the Architeuthis dux physiology, strangely complex for a sea beast. One of the organs in particular peaked the brigand's almost childlike interest: the massive ink duct that lay near the forked tail, a massive, circular chasm that contained a potentially devastating weapon. The book continued by offering a detailed account of a sailor whose ship was assaulted by a Kraken in the Blood Sea, the squid could excrete a milky black substance that could, upon human contact, burn the skin like a potent acid, leaving only the bones to be buried after what could be considered among the most painful of deaths.
When the brigand read this, he nearly fell from his chair. The power of the beast, at least according to what he had read, was considerable.
He would perform the Call of Cthulhu.
When he was done with the half-assed primping, Farek removed a small tome from a pocket of the bright blue mage robe. He opened it to a particular page marked cthulhu. in black ink, ironically.
While Farek was reading the page, it was the utterances themselves, and not the semantics, on which he was focused. His throat began to create gutteral, almost animalistic sounds, parsed with phrases from the text.
The call came to an end with the final chant of the incantation.
"The beast from R'lyeh, dead but dreaming, you have been willed to serve."
Farek opened his eyes and looked into the mirror, seeing not his reflection, but a series of alcoves inbedded into a large mountainous island far out at sea. Erosive forces had created the numerous alcoves, but one of the caves in particular was massive, as if it was carved into the stone by the hand of God.
Farek could hear nothing, as his summoning spell had only been laced with another spell of clairvoyance (giving him the ability to remotely view the alcove), but it was obvious, by the massive waves that were being expelled from the alcove, that something was happening. He squinted, catching a glimpse of a large school of mullet exiting the cave at a high rate of speed. It was then, with a great rumbling, (unbeknownst to Farek, because as was previously mentioned, there were no clairaudient spells in effect) that the cthulhu lurched from the cave.
It was a hideous monstrosity. If God created the great alcove with his Vulcantine hand, the Devil created the beast to inhabit it. It was a great cephalopod, standing fifty feet, with an apperance falling somewhere between an octopus and a squid, but had long, fingered arms of a giant man, stood on two legs, and had two bulging eyes that showed the wisdom of its years--and the hatred in its heart.
It surged into the bay and turned, the hundreds of linguinilike tentacles waving angrily, causing miniature tsunamis to erupt across the watery expanse, littering entire schools of fish, large quantities of plankton, and gallons upon gallons of water a half a mile in each direction from where it stood.
What happened next forced Farek's jaw southward. The beast seemed to be looking straight at him with those evil, black eyes that would have sent a kender ducking for cover.
"Whoooo wakesssss meeeeee." A rumbling voice assaulted the brigand from the mirror.
"Submit to me, beast." The brigand spoke loudly, with courage, though, for one of the few times in his life, butterflies wrenched his stomach and the smell of fear, his own fear, flooded the room.
"Haaaaaa. Haaaaaa. Haaaaaa." The beast mocked him, it's laughter deafening to his ears and threatening to his soul.
"Submit to me. You have been called upon."
"Patheticccc cretinnnnn. Youuu wasteeee mmmmyyyy tiiiiiiiime wiiiiith youuuuur foooooooolishnesssssss."
The beast then submerged itself into the water. It made an underwater revolution and came up, its tail, and ink duct pointing skyward. From Farek's vantage point, using the magic mirror, it appeared that it was pointed directly at him.
Then the duct erupted, the inky blackness streaking across the sky like a missile. However, the acidic ink did not fall harmlessly into the bay to lay waste to a coral castle or a school of unsuspecting fish.
The ink leaked through his mirror, dribbling down onto his floor.
The mirror, made of pure silver, melted into a gnarled, blackened ore moments after the ink rolled over its once beautiful surface. Farek leapt up and backed away, wary of the deadly substance.
The mirror finally gave way, collapsing into a semisolid pile of thick, murky black ink and acid-burned metal. On the ground, yards away, was a piece of the mirrored glass that had been spared from the cthulhu's inky wrath. Farek reached down, took the mirror shard into his hand, and looked at his reflection.
His hair had significantly greyed.
The crystal ball shattered as Farek hurled it across the room into the far wall. The brigand, with a great surge of strength, grabbed his heavy, mahogany desk and threw it halfway across the room, valuables, paperwork, and an assortment of trinkets littering the room as the drawers fell to the floor.
He was angry. He had been bested.
"That son of a bitch--ruined my mirror and made an ass of me." He shouted to no one, though the words echoed loudly in the circular, acoustically designed room.
He kicked the fallen desk, injuring his large toe. He winced, but did not regret it.
Farek waited until nightfall to depart from his tower, using a small portal to gate him directly into RhyDin's wharf and dock district. He was well armed, knowing that travelling lightly in the rough sides of the city could spell death, especially with his reputation. The potential notoriety for killing Farek had driven people to attempt his life, though every attempt to date had failed miserably.
His mission, however, was not to bully someone for information or solicit prostitutes, his primary aims on a normal visit to the docks.
He needed a boat.
Farek arrived at a relatively benign shack, stuck inconspicuously behind a large, metal warehouse that was probably used for the storage of illegal or smuggled wares. He beat the door roughly with a clenched fist, the loud knocks carrying far across the quiet night.
Moments later, the door opened, and in front of him stood an associate whom he had not seen in nearly a decade. It was a large, female ogre, considered to be one of the most beautiful of her race, but to Farek, she was ugly as hell. Green, barklike skin, big eyes, a grotesquely bulging belly were qualities that could only be viewed as attractive by the perverse ogres.
"Good evening, Dugrug." Farek greeted the ogress with a small nod.
Dugrug stared incredulously at Farek, as if she had seen a ghost.
"Wh...Me thought you die in Luskan. No one escape executioner axe."
Farek shrugged noncomittaly. Not even he was sure how he managed to escape. He was on the gallows, ready to have his head sent rolling, when a sudden series of fortunate events allowed him to escape into the desert.
"Even a wretch like me deserves a bit of luck sometimes." He offered Dugrug a grim smile and he was greeted with a hug from the ogress that nearly sucked the life from his thin bones.
"Are you done?" Farek asked hoarsely, and Dugrug released him from her iron grip. "I've come for a favor, and since you owe me, I figured I'd come to you."
She did owe him. In fact, fifteen years earlier, Farek had killed a frost giant, a warg, and a yeti that would have surely ripped the ogress limb from limb. The encounter was their first, and indebted to him, Dugrug joined him as a business associate until Farek was to be beheaded, as was previously mentioned.
Farek still had lingering notions that the ogress had something to do with the near-miss, but he dismissed it for now.
"I need a boat. One that can get me far to the west, near the great swirl."
He was referring to the large whirpool that, according to legend, could suck an entire fleet of frigates into its bottomless depths. "I also need a limited crew: a helmsman, a lookout, and someone who can hold their own in battle."
Farek was obviously referring to the ogress herself.
Dugrug ran a big, green hand across her fat chin, stroking the gullet that hung disgustingly down her neck.
"Dugrug agree, though must ask, why you need boat to go out to No Man's Land?"
Farek spat, afraid that disclosing his motives might deter the ogre from accompanying him. "I seek to kill the cthluhu."
The ogress' bug eyes blinked several times. She thought that she was surely dreaming.
"You crazy. Me think you have death wish." The ogress retreated into the cabin and slammed the door, though its progress was impeded by a well timed interjection of a lead boot.
"Perhaps this will change your mind." The brigand reached a hand into his heavy jacket, taking from within a large bag filled to the brim with pressed gold coins, worth a tidy sum.
"More," grunted the ogress.
Farek scowled, knowing that he was now the victim of robbery. He reached back into his coat, taking a gold pocketwatch engraved D.A.M, and a title to a piece of farmland that he had aquired in a claim jump.
"What I do with farmland. Farm?!" The ogress chortled in a low, gutteral tone.
"Sell it, I don't give a damn." Farek responded with a sharp cut of the eyeballs.
"You come with a ballsy request and a tidy sum. Dugrug will join you, Farek." Farek almost smiled as the ogress continued. "Meet Dugrug at pier thirteen at 5 by the eastern sun. Dugrug have ship, crew, and supplies. Also bring priest, we may need it." She smiled, showing Farek a series of rotten teeth.
"Until then." Farek said and retreated from the wharf.
A seagull chirped a dreary tune of the sea as Farek moved through the wharf of the city. During the day it served as the hub of commerce for towns up and down the seaboard, but at night there was a stark difference that could easily be discerned by any brave soul that risked their personal safety to walk among the scoundrels, the hucksters, and the creeps.
All was quiet except that basalt-colored seagull and the predictable, rythmic waves that beat against the piers as if Liarr himself was guiding them with his seasoaked hand. There would have been a strange tranquility about the place if it weren't for the stench that rattled Farek's stomach like Judas' cradle. The stench was nauseatingly sweet--a combination of errant fishes lost from their baskets and crates at the day markets, fecal matter, and a number of dead bodies hidden from sight yet still making their presence felt in a rather powerful fashion.
Farek reached into his coat, fingering a cigar for a moment before taking it from within and jamming it between his incisors. A moment later, the miniature inferno of a struck match was brought to his lips and the cigar was lit, immediately sending the cannabis laced smoke seaward with the assistance of a warm, salty breeze.
A footfall then shattered the orchestrational tranquility that Farek, the rough talking, hard assed brigand, almost found enjoyable. He turned, half-angered, half-wary. A great shadow was then cast over him. His bony hand moved immediately to the hilt of the blade that hung on the scabbard at his belt.
Then a rough voice put him at ease.
The brigand let out a breath of relief. While he was not green in the ways of street fighting and killing, it was always unnerving.
"About damned time. Let's get out of here before I lose my dinner. It smells so damned bad that after this is over, I'm going to follow Azjah the Whore around just to smell her perfume and neutralize the smell that will most assuredly be etched into my brain for eternity."
Dugrug responded with a coarse laugh that had a flicker of ogrish femininity.
The ogress gestured to a small boat in the distance.
"Got boat. Need only crew."
Farek smiled and took another drag from the cigar.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El Quijote
For the first time that he could remember, Farek visited the wharf during the day. The air was torrid to such a degree that Farek removed his long, hunter green duster, his lanky, bordering on bony arms that hung awkwardly from his short-sleeved shirt giving him the look of a particularly anemic primate.
Still, his reputation would keep in line anyone who took note of Farek's knobby limbs.
He raised a hand to shield the sun from his eyes. The sun created a blinding wall of light that was magnified by its reflection from the oily bay. The glare served as a constant reminder of one of the main reasons he preferred the night and the heat likewise made him yearn for the icy breath of Old Man Winter.
He took a glance to his immediate left, watching a number of fishermen toiling away at a rather difficult catch. His eyes then trailed to the murky, polluted bay where the large fish was trying so desperately to remain. He would never again eat seafood.
The look of disgust that was plastered across his face as he turned away from the wild fisherman's scene soon faded as he began to look for a more adventurous sort of mariner. His purpose at the wharf was to find a stalwart, able crew of a small number--a helmsman, two or three able swashbucklers, and a woman to make the stomach turning nights at sea go by more easily.
He rounded the corner of an abandoned warehouse that was in a deplorable condition, horrible to even the wharf's lower-than-low standards. It was then that he heard a voice mocking him from somewhere near the dilapidated structure.
"Yawwwk. Smelly sunuvabitch. Yawwwk. Smelly sunuvabitch."
"The hell was that?" Farek uttered audibly in the slow Luskan drawl that pervaded his speech.
"Yawwwk. Smelly sunuvabitch. Yawwwk. Smelly sunuvabitch."
Farek continued walking, unwilling to start a commotion in broad daylight, despite his willingness to teach the taunting individual a lesson in respect.
It was only moments later when Farek felt a quick, sharp object rap roughly against the top of his head. He turned quickly, his sword drawn into his hand with the speed and panache that he showed in the dueling arenas nightly, though with an anger in his demeanor that very few were able to evoke.
He was then slapped across the face by something illustrious--a rainbow of greens and blues and speckled with black.
It was a big wing.
Farek spun around again.
In front of him was a large parrot wearing a miniature pirate's hat. In its pecking beak, a crude cigarette chimneyed smoke into the already thick air.
"Yawwwk. Farek. Yawwwk. Farek."
The bird spoke again. If Farek had been puzzled by the cigarette, he was even more puzzled by the bird's flawless pronunciation of his name.
"What do you want, bird?" The brigand squinted at it, and though he still held the sword in his left hand, his muscles relaxed visibly.
"Yawwwk. Master wants to speak with you. Yawwwk. Has something you may want."
The brigand eyed him, unsure if this was a trap or something that Dugrug had arranged. It would not have been improbable for a group of privateers to seek Farek's head upon a pike. Still, he was interested, so he gestured towards the bird.
"Take me to your master, then, but I warn you, if I fall victim to some dirty trickery, I'll be sure to roast your wings over a fire and feed them to hungry urchins."
The bird made an 'eeping' noise and flew away slowly enough for Farek to follow it.
Slowly, his vision returned, though the pain in his head remained, proving a constant reminder that something unfortunate had befallen him. A cursory glance around him gave him very little in the way of identifying his whereabouts. He was in an ambiently lit, small room that had a particularly foreign smell to it. It was far from sterile, yet not grotesquely ridden with filth. All in all, it seemed he was in a regular room.
"I need a smoke."
Farek still had no recollection of how he had gotten to where he was, nor did he remember what he had been doing immediately prior to the elusive event that had put him in the strange room.
He reached for a cigar lustily, but to the brigand's chagrin, his arm did not move, and the sound of crude chains rattled from his side.
He craned his neck to the left and peered down towards his hand that had been unable to raise past his hip. Attatched to his wrist was a particularly thick, yet crude and unrefined handcuff. From the top of the cuff, a strong chain fell impotently to the floor and, as Farek could see by lifting his gaze, trailed upward where it finally attatched to the ceiling. It had no slack except when Farek moved his hand too far in any direction, forcing the chain to snap into a firm position.
A quick jerk of his right hand told Farek that both hands were cuffed.
"I hope I payed for this kinky [explitive] or I'm going to be one angry son of a bitch."
The last half of the sentence was graced with an angry raising of his voice, as if to make its known to someone, anyone, that he had come to. He had now attributed the throbbing pain in his head to what seemed to be captivity.
Farek spent the next few minutes cursing wildly, at no one in particular. He was even guilty of inventing combinations of vulgarities that had never graced the minds of even the most proficient wielders of profanity.
The brigand, now out of breath, finished the foul tirade with a number of obscenities that faded in intensity, audibility, and gusto, until he was merely mumbling beneath his breath.
The harshness of the outburst tired the usually energetic brigand, but the sound of footsteps nearby snapped him to attention. Roughly ten meters in front of him and five to the left, a rather shaky looking wooden door flung open. The hinge squeaked, fell from the wall, and the door spiraled down with a loud crash, nearly breaking a large, ornamental mirror that hung on the wall directly opposite from the brigand. Through the doorway that now lacked a door, a tall, brutish figure entered.
Lightning struck the mast of The Gut Runner as the helmsman navigated her through the hurricane. His muscles bulged grotesquely, almost cartoonistically as he fought with mighty resolve to keep the ship in line on its heading towards Luskan.
"The bloody thing is fixin' ta spiral outta control." The helsman, a grizzled pirate with the aforementioned bulging muscles, coupled with bulging fish-eyes stared at his captain warily as he tried to weave a possible rationalization in the case the ship spiraled off path or crashed and sent them into a Robinson Crusoe scenario.
Two yellow eyes stared back at the helmsman. They offered little comfort to the grizzled pirate who had turned back to the helm and was putting up a mighty, grappling struggle that would have forced most gladiators to go for the lion first.
The man with the yellow eyes snarled, stomped his foot upon the deck of The Gut Runner and moved away to survey other parts of the poop deck where sailors and pirates fought to keep the ship afloat.
He stepped across a trio of rather green pirates frantically scooping water into buckets and pouring it overboard. Their efforts were futile, however, as the hurricane continued to deposit what seemed to the pirates to be entire leagues of water back into the ship.
"You idiots!" The man with the yellow eyes yelled over the howling wind. He shielded his eyes from the rain that hit him like small sling stones. "Go do something more productive before I gut you like fishes!"
The three nodded sharply and moved to scramble away to another part of the deck. The third, however, a scrawny, lanky pirate that could have been little older than a teenager slipped in his haste and fell onto his face in such a way that not even the howling wind could drown out the sickening thud.
From beneath him, a crimson tide of blood ran down the deck.
The man with the yellow eyes snarled again. He was notorious for cruelty and ruthlessness and his refusal to accept anything less than perfection.
One such story pervaded the alehalls and taverns from Waterdeep to Luskan. It was said that the yellow-eyed man, during the boarding and seizure of a trading ship, found twleve children huddled in the brig. One by one, each child was impaled with a large fishing hook that was attatched to one hundred meters of rope. They were then thrown from the ship and were dragged behind its wooden hull until their small bodies grimly broke apart over the ocean. Thusly, The Gut Runner was aptly named.
The lanky youth was reminded of this story as he pushed himself from the deck. His nose was demolished, in ruin. Before, it had turned up slightly in a Roman fashion, almost handsomely, but was now concave and battered. His chin suffered a similar injury. A large chunk of skin dangled precariously by a number of threads and the white, pristine bone of a pointed chin jut from beneath the torn flesh.
The man with the yellow eyes smiled at the youth. It was a devilish smile, one of a disturbed man. He reached out and grabbed the youth by the neck, gripping him tightly with two large, hairy hands. The youth gasped for air and clawed wildly at the infamous pirate with thin, bony hands, but the gesture only drew laughter from the brute.
Moments later, the youth found himself thrown from the deck, landing in the violent sea with an inaudible splash.
The youth screamed as the salt water penetrated the deep cuts and gashes that lined his face, stinging him like an enraged army of a million ants and bees.
Surprisingly, the pirate had not thrown him particularly far from the hull. The youth knew that his chances of survival were poor, at best, and that his only chance was to get back to the ship, hold on, and pray for a positive outcome.
So he swam like hell.
He was now able to ignore the stinging pain from the wounds that now possessed deposits of salt. He focused on the ship, no more than ten meters away. The youth fought against the waves that sent him back a meter for every meter he gained on the ship.
The demoralizing surf began to take its toll on the youth. He began to give up. His swimming strokes began to lack vigor, they lacked intensity. He began to separate from the hull, the waves now pushing him back three meters for every meter he was gaining.
The youth afforded one last look at the ship as he accepted his fate. His life had been short, rough, but he was not bitter.
So he let the waves take him.
It was, however, a short lived death march.
A large hook had fallen from the ship during the scramble to keep it afloat. The wind, so great in nature, blew it through the sky as if it were made of paper. It landed into the water near the youth.
He then felt a sharp pain in his leg.
For most, a large fish hook through the leg would be a nightmare, but for the youth, it was a blessing--of sorts.
The hook buried itself deep into the youth's slim leg, the barbed tip just scraping the edge of his femur. As The Gut Runner fought its way forward against the wind and waves, the large hook, attatched to a rope, followed, and ran the youth behind it.
He was being towed. He was being gut runned.
The youth did not know how many hours, or days, had passed when he came to. He was on his back, surrounded by a crowd of people that had an air of concern about him. An elderly man leaned over him, examining the hook that was still buried in his leg.
The pain of the hook and his battered face, coupled with the confusion of the situation was too much.
So the youth screamed.
It took weeks for the youth to recover from his injuries, though the doctors said his recovery was remarkably fast for injuries of that magnitude.
In those weeks he also had time to consider what had happened on the ship.
In those weeks the youth planned his revenge against the man with the yellow eyes.
It was a prospect that was truly crazy. Many had tried to kill the brute and they all had failed. If the youth thought his ordeal had been horrific, what would surely lay in wait for him would be beyond his comprehension.
Still, the pride that made his chest swell propelled him to the course of action, even if it was foolhardy and suicidal.
Perhaps it was coincedence that the youth visited Luskan's Fishhead Tavern on the cool spring night on the twenty-third day after his ordeal.
He moved inward, trying to hide the limp that marred his usually smooth, confident gait. He moved immediately to the bar and ordered a drink of crisp gin.
It was then when he saw what he had been seeking. In what appeared to be the cliched 'dark corner', two yellow eyes peered out, though it did not appear that they had noticed the youth.
So the youth waited.
Several hours and several drinks later, the youth spotted the yellow-eyed man exit the shadows and ascend a staircase that led into a loft that served as lodging.
The youth finished his gin and stood, wobbling. He then moved and ascended the staircase behind the yellow-eyed man.
As the youth got to the top of the staircase, he noticed two doors, both closed, and umarked. He paused for a moment, trying to fight through the drunkeness that soaked his brain to find a way to pick the right room.
On impulse, he kicked in the right door with his healthy leg.
He stumbled inside and moved his hand to his scabbard. The sword slid from it with the sound of metal grating on metal...
...and slipped from his grasp, hitting the wooden floor with a rattling series of clanks.
Perhaps a guardian angel had been firmly planted upon the youth's shoulder since the fateful episode on The Gut Runner, for as he looked up, he noticed not a legendary pirate about to gut him, but a sleazy looking man servicing two equally sleazy whores.
He had picked the wrong room.
The youth grabbed his sword from the ground and made a prompt exit, though the trio of scum hadn't even noticed his drunken entrance that resembled a bumbling squire attempting to mirror his knightly counterpart.
He rubbed his eyes, staring at the door. He held the sword tightly in his left hand, deciding on foregoing the dramatic panache of drawing his sword.
He then kicked in this door, charged inside, and screamed a banshee's scream.
What happened next is impossible to describe. The youth had snapped, so to speak, and the condition of the room wholly supported that. Chairs lay in broken pieces upon the ground. Mirrors were shattered. A desk was hacked to bits.
And a pirate lay upon the ground, groaning, bleeding, and missing his arm from the elbow down. Through his back, a simple iron shortsword pinned him to the floor.
The window was shattered as if something large had been hurled through it.
Moments after the sound of yelling, crashing, and breaking had subsided, a final shattering of glass and footsteps were heard running away from the tavern.
Farek yanked the chain again as the figure entered the room, though he could not free himself.
He cursed again, spat, and readied himself to spite fire at his captor. His mouth opened as he raised his head to look the man in the eyes before he would rip into him verbally.
Two yellow orbs stared back at him with a burning hatred and intensity.
Not a sound escaped Farek's mouth as he stared into the man's eyes. When he was finally able to tear his gaze from the commanding stare of the man, he looked past him to the large mirror that hung upon the wall.
The scars on his chin and nose stood out like a lit match in a dark closet
-Tuco Benedito Juan Maria Ramirez
It was as if nothing but one pair of yellow eyes hovered before Farek and stared into the depths of his rotten soul. They penetrated him. They eviscerated his spirit. They frightened him.
It was the same fear that befell him some twenty years before aboard the Gut Runner in that powerful squall.
The yellow-eyed man finally spoke after what Farek deemed to be an eternity.
"I've been waiting for this moment for twenty-two years. Every time I've looked at the spot where my right arm should have been, I've thought of you. In the interim, however, I've become quite proficient with my left." *
The man drew a particularly nasty looking rapier with his left--the same hand Farek used. Perhaps it was fitting that the brigand would die looking up at a fierce brute wielding a blade in his left hand as Farek's countless victims did.
As the pirate hungrily licked his lips while contemplating what cruel method of torture he would use on the brigand, loud thundering began to resonate above them. It sounded like a storm.
"Ah, a storm. It sounds beautiful, doesn't it? Too bad there is no hull from which I could throw you into the depths of the ocean."
Farek spat at him and offered a bitter retort. "I'd just escape again and cut off your other arm, you son of a bitch."
The pirate laughed at the hollow threat. "Charming, as always, Farek. You had so much promise, too."
The thundering grew louder as the pirate raised the blade to perforate Farek, when something that sounded like it was streaking through the sky captured the attention of them both and send their heads craning towards the ceiling.
Unbeknownst to both pirate and brigand, two relatively inconsequential sloops were engaging in a skirmish on the bay, which, incidentally, sat a mere hundred yards from the building they both were in. It was a dispute over a shipment of knucklehead trout, and as words began to fail, cannonballs began to hail.
The gunner on the first sloop, Little Whale , rotated the cannon toward the mast of the other ship that flew no flag and was, for all intents and purposes, unidentifiable. With the panache only a pirate could show, he jeered at the other sloop and removed the fat cigar from his mouth and brought it to the fuse of the cannon. The fuse began its five centimeter burning journey to the gunpowder.
The pirate's jeers quickly turned to a brief scream and then to silence as a large piece of Little Whale's mast came careening to the deck, striking him upon the skull and knocking him from consciousness. The weight of his body turned the pivoting cannon and aimed it at the land. It was pointing at a discreet, unmarked warehouse a hundred meters from the shore.
Then the cannon erupted. Fishermen gasped and dove in great trough-like crates full of fish and shrimp as the cannonball streaked through the sky. With a great explosion of gunpowder, plywood, and dust, it struck the warehouse...
...where Farek and the yellow-eyed man stood on the top floor.
The ceiling collapsed in on the two, followed by the floor, which sent them both plummeting through weak, rotten wood, level by level, until they struck the bottom, buried in the rubble.
On the bay, the Little Whale sank into the shallow reef and the unidentified ship exited the harber in haste.
Fisherman exited the troughs of fish with reddened cheeks and then all was silent.
Sailors, fisherman, hucksters, and pirates alike began to dig through the rubble, throwing wood, nails, and other debris aside in an attempt to save any survivors of the explosion. After roughly an hour of digging, pulling, and yanking, a fisherman saw a booted leg jutting from beneath a small pile, grotesquely twisted and bleeding.
"There's someone right here!" he shouted, and the twenty-odd men began to focus their energies on the specific location.
Minutes later, the debris was cleared.
The one armed pirate lay upon the ground, his right leg bent and twisted and his left arm crushed beneath a large, concrete cinderblock. Sticking through his back was a large, rusty spike that pinned him to the floor.
The pirate raised his head with his last ounce of strength and looked to where a large wall stood miraculously, yet precariously, upon a large piece of plywood.
It was on that wall that he saw two broken chains.
The pirate let out a great roar before he died, a roar that drowned out the sound of footfalls scampering away from the docks.
His body ached to the very core of his bones. The memory of his captivity, though quite recent, was a blur. He remembered bits and pieces--the thunderous booming, the crash, and the fall, though how he managed to break free from the chains and run away on his own volition was still a mystery.
He briefly considered that he could have died, though the intense pain and the metal cuffs that were still firmly clamped to his wrists seemed to suggest otherwise. He was not suspended above the Five-Headed-Dragon, roasting slowly over her infernal nostrils, either, so he dispelled the idea of death as quickly as it had come.
The brigand slumped down onto the hard, uncushioned bed and slowly, begrudgingly, elevated his feet onto the footboard. He rubbed at his face, removing fragments of sawdust that had stuck to his cheeks during the impact of the fall.
Farek lay there and contemplated the events of the previous days. One moment, it was the Cthulhu that seemed to be his greatest foe, until out of nowhere, demons from his past sprang to life and haunted him. Unlike the Cthulhu, however, Farek knew that the yellow-eyed man no longer posed a threat to himself or his mission. While there was no concrete evidence to support that the man had died, his honed intiuition told him that the road to Cthulhu stretched before him unimpeded by obstacle and foe.
His thoughts drifted to the morrow, where the task of finding a crew still awaited him. For the time being, however, he would sleep. The brigand closed his eyes, rest his head against the stiff, wooden bed, and fell into a deep, sound sleep unlike any he had experienced in recent memory.
As he went willingly into the depthless palace of Hypnos, all was quiet except for the sound of cannonfire which still echoed in his ears.
During his self-motivated exile, Farek was forced to live in the wilderness along the various roads that led in and out of RhyDin, as his reputation as a murderer and thief preceded him in every other town within a hundred miles of the city which he now called home. For several months, he preyed upon straggling caravans and travellers, robbing them for their wealth and goods, but this fact is particularly unimportant to any events regarding the kraken.
It was months later that he found his way back into the city, sticking discriminately to the murky depths of nightfall, and for the most part, stayed clear of any public facilities, aside from a handful of appearances at the dueling arena and the magical dimensional pocket of Twilight Isle. Farek thrived on competition, so it was a great personal struggle to stay away from the limelight of dueling, but he knew it was a necessary sacrifice in his goal to eliminate the kraken and plunder his lair, which lore told him contained unimaginable treasures. He spent most of his time at Kiska's hovel, a place that asked no questions about their occupants.
He did, however, participate in one public event that could not be avoided if he was to control the forces necessary to defeat the powerful beast of the sea--the tournament for the Tower of Water. Prior to his feigned death, he had neglected to show for his duel against the wanting Enchantress, Shard, in order to keep his profile low, as he would have, in any other circumstance, dueled and bested the overly ambitious cretin.
Despite his respite, his skill with manipulating the arcane was unmatched, at least in the tournament setting. He dominated every duel, trumping Tellius, among others, eventually culminating with the defeat of the hairy brute known as Face Loran, which earned him the coral key to the Tower of Water. It was also a personally satisfying victory, as his vendetta with Face, while not public knowledge, was quite overarching in his affairs at the Twilight Isle.
One week after retaking his key, he teleported onto the Isle and headed towards the south shore towards the bay. He entered, snarling, as he fully-expected to be forced to remove pink, frilly curtains left by the former holder. He did not, thankfully, and he immediately began working on the next phase of his eventual confrontation with the kraken.
He sent missive to her residence at the docks that he would meet her and finish gathering a crew. His last attempt in enlisting men had led to his unfortunate kidnapping by the grizzled, bloodthirsty pirate he had mutilated in his youth. Hopefully, he thought, he would have more luck and avoid running into any more unecessary obstacles.
That night, Farek left the Tower of Water, porting into the city of RhyDin and immediately heading to the Docks. Dugrug was waiting for him as he expected.
"Dugrug, my apologies for not contacting you earlier. The last time we tried to gather a crew, I was kidnapped by that son of a bitch buccaneer, as you may have heard"
Dugrug's eyes darted nervously before she turned and nodded to the brigand. Farek also noticed that her posture appeared unease, as if something was bothering her. He narrowed his eyes, but said nothing as he lit the cigar that jut from his mouth.
"After you." Farek gestured, and they began to head towards the warehouse where Dugrug had said she found some stalwart comrades.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest