The Kraken

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A retired navy admiral sails within cursed waters to attend an important meeting. Who believes in apocryphal tales anyways? But soon he finds his error..

Submitted: March 10, 2017

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Submitted: March 10, 2017

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Ser’kan was standing at the edge of the deck, peering into the bleak waters of the ocean. Clouds of mist floated in front of him, as he exhaled in the perverse cold of the ocean. That particular journey had been a long series of misfortunes. A fire on ship by a stray lamp, two sailors from the crew fell overboard while fixing the sails, and then the recent, unforgiving storm.

Ser’kan was sure that the might of the howling winds would tear the ship apart in their fury. Then followed the concomitant, thick mist that obscured from vision all but a few feet in front. If pirates were to surreptitiously creep on them, they would not know it until they were in boarding range. Not that any pirates would dare venture in these desolate waters. This was a route seldom used by any, many tales of accidents and mishaps had convinced everyone that this sea was cursed.

“Folk and their imagination”, Ser’kan scoffed.

Gold-Maiden for that was the name Ser’kan gave her, enjoyed the captaincy of a former navy admiral. He was tempted to leave his rank and service, for the King had grown ambivalent in his later years, often demonstrating indecision. It always annoyed Ser’kan; the passiveness of His Majesty, but it was not until His Majesty decided to let the raiding and looting of pirates on one of the key military ports slide by, that he considered leaving the service. He never regretted his decision.

It was a risky journey that had taken him through Bleakwaters, to the port of Buckhaven, a rich trading port set on the coast of an equally rich economic city. The route through Bleakwaters saved him several hundred miles of sailing, and the always present danger of pirate raids through the Gulf of Estan’ar.

He sailed hastily, for haste was what he needed. He was to reach the port of Buckhaven by the next day evening, the important personnel of the “Revolutionists” were to meet and decide the course of action they would need to follow to liberate the Country from the incumbent King.
“Never thought I would take to usurping and rebellion”, Ser’kan remarked in a grumpy voice.

Suddenly the ship shook beneath his feet, causing him to lose his balance. He caught the edge of the deck and looked at his Second-in-Command, Estavar.

Estavar shrugged, “Maybe some rocks near the surface of water, cap.”

“See that you steer clear of them, they could impair the hull.”, Ser’kan admonished.

“Aye captain”, Estavar asserted.

Ser’kan sighed, a damaged hull was the last thing he needed. The rebellion and the constant strategic maneuvers tired him, he was not young and brimming with alacrity and zeal as he once was; he so very tired.

“Maybe I should buy a farmhouse and settle for good”, he pondered,” a peaceful life and all that.”

The ship shook again, more violently. Years at sea, near death had given him a strong sense of danger, and he sensed the danger at that moment. Estavar cursed, believing that he hit another rock, but Ser’kan knew there was something gravely odd.

“M-m-monster”, someone among the crew screamed. Ser’kan turned towards the direction of the cry. The stout and well-built sailor was inches away from a slimy arm that was gripping the edge of the deck. The brute drew his blade and slicked the reptilian arm, drawing a white fluid. This seemed to only aggravate the beast, it shrieked shrilly. Slimy arms gripped the ship from all sides and shook the ship.

“Men, at arms”, Ser’kan barked orders.

The men stood on the deck, with blades drawn and a nervousness reflected in their eyes. Everyone stood, waiting for the inevitable. The monster gripped the mast of the man-o-war and pulled itself overboard, the air permeated with a perverse smell.

It was a Kraken, Ser’kan knew, he had never seen one, well no one had in a hundred years but he had read the account of Johnny The Lucky who supposedly encountered the beast once and survived. It looked exactly as he described in his account; many slimy arms that gripped with the strength of a dozen bulls, a round head with many small slanting eyes and pinkish-white slippery skin that repelled most blows with ease.

Those sailors were nothing like soldiers, that much was apparent in their bland fighting style. They all fell on the beast simultaneously, only serving to hamper one another, the beast threw the front line of attack with a wave of its tentacle. The second-line advanced thinner than the first, for fear now numbed their minds breeding inaction.

The second line offered no more resistance than the first. The Kraken dislodged the mast of the ship from the main body which shook the ship violently, some water flowed overboard. The flailing arms kept felling the crew, it was apparent that the struggle was futile.

“Man the cannons”, Ser’kan ordered.

The crew at the back line rushed for the cannons.

“Aim”

The cannons pointed in the direction of the Kraken.
“Fire”

Cannon balls fired and hit the soft skin of Kraken. The impact seemed to have at least some effect on the beast. In response, it loosened its grip on the deck and slipped beneath the surface of the water.

A perverse silence prevailed for a few seconds each man on the tip of his toes. The Kraken suddenly retaliated from beneath the ship, lifting it through the sheer force of its impact a few inches from the surface of the water. It threw several more men overboard.

Ser’kan gazed at his remaining men, not more than a score left. He knew it was either a do or die circumstance.

He ordered a handful of men,” You five, go retrieve the oil from the store of the ship. Bring out as many as you can.”

Facing the rest, he ordered,” You all, set up make-shift cover from pieces of woods, barrels or whatever you can find.”

“We either triumph or succumb to cold death. Today, we fight like we never have, for today it is our lives at the line. If death is our fate, then let it be in the comforting cradle of valor”, he rallied his men.

The Kraken ripped a part of hull of the ship, the ocean water quickly rushing within the interior of the ship. By then, all the oil had been brought over board.

Ser’kan explained in a calm but resonating voice, “We pour the oil on that abomination. When the act is done, we burning arrows at the beast. Hopefully it burns and doesn’t take the ship with it.”

“Sir, with all due respect there must be a better way, this… this madness will kill us all”, said Estavar.

Madness, thought Ser’kan, maybe he was going mad. Despite that he could see no other way.

“Estavar, if you have a better plan then grace us with sharing its details”, admonished Ser’kan, “Oh, you don’t? Then we follow the only course of action we can think of, and that is burning the beast. Any further objections?”. Ser’kan looked round, none voiced any disagreement.

He nodded at his men.

“Forward men!”

All the men rushed forward pouring oil on the skin of the beast and the floor of the ship as well. Five men stood back, readying and lighting their arrows. The last bucket of oil had been spilled, the pinkish skin of the Kraken now a blackish shade.

The bowstrings were stretched back, the arrows held tightly in place. Ser’kan held his arm up.

“Fire”, Ser’kan ordered as he brought down his arm like a man at the head of a choir.

The arrows flew in unison and struck the skin of the Kraken. Its body immediately lit up. The Kraken threw its arms wildly in response to the intense heat of the flames licking its body. When that did it no good, it held down the ship tightly. The ship started to tilt, but just as it seemed it would sink the whole ship down with it, the half that the Kraken was grasping at broke from the other half.

Ser’kan was grasping at the at the edge of the deck when the ship, or half of the what was his ship touched the surface of water. And as he stood up he saw a fire, the biggest fire of his life, rising up a hundred feet above him and as the sun set beneath the horizon, another one rose up and burnt away…


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