Well avast me hearties I see many fine entries on the horizon. But alas you can only vote for one or be sentenced to Davy Jones's Locker. Until the bright sunlit noon hits Portsmouth Bay ten days from now you have to cast your votes, and for you non mariners that means all votes must be in on the 28th October at 12:00 hours GMT.
Now here be the contest entries;
From the Imperial @impurestcheese we got this entry;
The Capture of Nemacyst
The Sea of Cortez, West Coast of Mexico
“It looks like the captain is in a bad mood.” The sailor dressed in shorts and a baseball cap stated as the man dressed in ballistic armour stomped past, a long barbed bullwhip trailing behind him.
“Well a lot worse than usual Mr Crook.” His friend dressed in a Mexican Football shirt and jeans replied. “And I don't like that he’s sending us out to the Devil’s Rock.”
“Stow your talk Mr Crook, Mr Arenberg.” The Captain barked. “I go to this spit of land in the hopes for salvation. The Jaguar is coming for me and mine. But I Stephano Flores, Captain of the Nemacyst will not be killed by some creature of the old religion, raised up by devil craft and vengeance.”
“Captain we're over the reef!” A crewman yelled from the helm, “What are your orders?”
“Weigh anchor and ready yourselves men, first we must lure the creature to us, then we must capture it.” The Captain ordered. “Mr Arenberg, to the crane and ready the cargo crate for deployment, the bait inside will draw the monsters from the depth.”
”Aye aye sir!” Mr Arenberg barked as he sprinted to the crane and climbed in, the hooked end looping around the cargo crate and dragging it over the side. Smiling the captain removed a detonator cap from his belt and pressed the button, the doors of the crate bursting open and spilling its contents into the water.
“Mr Crook make sure none of them climb back aboard!” The Captain roared as Mr Crook removed a pistol from his belt and aimed it at the flailing oriental men and women in the water.
“But sir, Bocanegra will kill us for wasting this shipment like this.” Mr Crook whimpered as he fired a warning shot at a man swimming towards the ladder.
“He won't be in any shape to do so if we fail!” The Captain snapped as a pair of crewmen dragged out a long hose from under the wheelhouse and lit the pilot light under the nozzle. “And now we wait, Mr Crook, Mr Arenberg watch for El Diablo Rohas, when they appear our quarry is sure to be close behind.”
Looking over the edge Crook and Arenberg watched as two of the immigrants were pulled underwater and the flash of red moved under the shoal of floundering victims. The few that came to the surface revealed that they had long hooked arms on the end of torpedo shaped bodies that flashed red and white as they fed. “Humboldt Squid sighted on the port side sir.” Mr Arenberg announced, “May god have mercy on those poor sods souls.”
Ripped apart by monsters from the deep!” Mr Crook whimpered. “That’s a terrible way to die.”
“Aye and you will face worse if you don't back away from the edge.” The Captain roared as a flash of blue darted under the boat, just under the water’s surface. Its mere presence causing the Humboldt Squid to dart away as it swam past.
“What terrifies a man eater?” Mr Crook gasped as an entire row of immigrants sunk under the surface.
“Something I encountered a long time ago.” The Captain mused. “There are more wonders in Heaven and Earth then you can imagine. Now prepare yourself, we only need one of these charming beasts.” He added as a blue skinned woman pulled herself onto the deck of the ship, her head lined with long stinging tentacles in the place of hair whilst long venomous spines sprouted from her back. With a snarl she sprung towards Crook only for a crack from the Captains whip to slash through her hand, the force causing her to real backwards in pain. “Okay lads ready the net, grab it before another one crawls onboard!” The Captain ordered as the creature leapt at Crook, her venomous tentacles wrapping around his body, the man convulsing until the weighted hook of the crane knocked her flying.
“Crook!” Arenberg yelled. “Crook for gods sake what are we dealing with her Captain?!” He asked as the marine monster recovered.
“Science don’t have a name for them.” The Captain stated as a pair of crewmen through a weighted net over the marine woman. “But that my lads, is the closest any of you will be to seeing an honest to goodness mermaid. Only these ladies are loaded with toxins for paralyzing their prey and have a taste for the flesh of honest sailors like us.”
“More coming!!” The crewman in the bridge yelled. “Six no seven coming aboard.”
“You Mr Arenberg, remove the mermaid from the deck so we can ready the fire siphon and tell Jorge to ready the bellows.” The Captain snarled as he cracked his whip against the closest approaching creature, the tip cutting through its neck and sending it convulsing to the floor.
“But what about Crook?” Arenberg asked as he refused to leave his fallen comrades side.
“Leave him be and do as I order, or you will be in a worse state than him!!” The Captain spit as a crewman raked the deck with fire from a submachine gun the bullets striking the invaders and slowing their advance. Crossing himself Arenberg dragged the woman below decks as more of her fellows climbed aboard, all of them hissing in anger as they advanced. “Deck clear boys, burn these sea devils out!!” The Captain roared as the men manning the hose squeezed the trigger, a jet of flame lancing out and burning the entire approaching horde of mermaids.
”What of Crook?” The man at the helm stated as the charred remains of the mermaids fell to the deck.
“Leave him; the creature’s venom has an odd effect on humans.” The Captain ordered as he headed below decks. “He'll either die or be reborn stronger, I pray for the former though, the later causes unimaginable pain.” He added as he walked to the glass cylinder and the bound woman inserted inside. “Leave us Mr Arenberg.” He ordered as the sailor nodded and headed back upstairs.
“So human, you finally have caught one of our number.” The mermaid hissed. “But no man can hold onto an Oceanid for long, misfortune will fall on you and your ship of slaves.”
“Ah yes the gift of tongues. Maybe I should have caught a mermaid who is less chatty.” The Captain mused as he tapped on the wall of the tank, the vibrations causing his captive to flinch in pain. “As for misfortune, well it flows both ways. I’m almost certain that I whipped out your entire species only moments ago, what with your people being endangered.”
“Monster, you will pay when the Jaguar comes for you!” The mermaid screeched.
“That’s why I have you, as we speak my men are laying a trail of chemical mines along the reef bottom.” The captain purred, a cruel smile spreading across his face. “Just to get any of your people who didn't participate on your raid. So unless you want me to detonate them, you will do as I say.”
“I will not risk my people.” The mermaid hissed as she bowed her head. “I am yours to command until your demise.”
“As I thought, welcome to the Nemacyst Miss.” The Captain announced. “As part of the ship you will answer to that name. Now rest and regain your strength, Itzel’s Daughter comes soon and you will stop her, or your entire race dies.”
From @batkevin74 of Botany Bay we got this entry;
Stephanie was a penguin.
She lived in Antarctica, which is the big white icy blob on the bottom of maps and globes.
She wasn’t your average penguin, oh no. She was a smart penguin.
She was smart because her parents fed her radioactive fish which is what they’d eaten and somehow it unlocked her genetic potential, somehow kickstarting evolution. But the science of mutation isn’t important. Well it is but it holds very little importance to this story asides from making Stephanie into the penguin she is today.
Now she preferred if you called her Stephanie. Or Steffie if you were family. Or Ms Stephanie X. Penguin of the Nautical Submariner Association if you were from the taxation department or meeting for the first time. The X by the way stood for marks the spot in case you were wondering.
Stephanie, being smarter than the average penguin, decided that it was time to rid her area of The Evil Thing. Now The Evil Thing was just that, an evil looking thing that shot out of the ocean like a shark fin made of almost unbreakable black ice.
To you or I, who aren’t penguins…unless you’re Stephanie who has learnt to read, we know The Evil Thing to be an oil rig. But as a penguin, even a smart, genetically evolved mutant penguin; The Evil Thing was an Evil Thing as her knowledge on refining, metallurgy and drilling was limited to what she could perceive and process through her smart penguin brain.
So Stephanie took up her frozen mackerel which would either be a snack or a sword, depending upon the situation, and swam off to deal with The Evil Thing.
Now I wish I had good news.
I wish I could tell you that brave Stephanie crossed the mighty waves and took on The Evil Thing in a heroic battle where she won the day and beast was slain. But alas I cannot, for that would be lying and not how the story went.
Stephanie, with her mackerel sword snack, did not defeat nor even injure The Evil Thing. The tough unbreakable black ice, or as we know it STEEL, proved far too resilient to frozen fish.
So Stephanie went to Plan B.
Now Plan B wasn’t as well thought out as what technically was Plan A, which is attacking an oil rig with a frozen fish. Plan B was to call in her friend Bethany, who was a blue whale. This wasn’t a dig about her weight nor her mental state, Bethany was indeed blue in colour and a whale of species.
Bethany was also smart due to eating radioactive krill. But though smart, as compared to other whales, she was somewhat…dense. And that is a dig about her intelligence or rather lack of.
Stephanie informed Bethany of Plan B which was brilliant as it was clever as it was suicidal. Bethany loved it before Stephanie had finished speaking, mainly as I said before she was dense. Plan B consisted of Stephanie riding Bethany like a whale powered battering ram and knocking The Evil Thing over therefore “killing” it and allowing us to utter happily ever after.
But alas I cannot. Not yet.
So Ms Stephanie X. Penguin of the Nautical Submariner Association, who got herself another mackerel sword snack, mounted Bethany and the pair charged like an incoming torpedo towards The Evil Thing. She was using her full name and title as she hadn’t officially been introduced to The Evil Thing and it would be quite rude to kill someone without a proper introduction.
Bethany slammed into The Evil Thing with a momentous crash. The Evil Thing shook and toppled like something that would topple. You and I would say building or tree but since Stephanie, and for that matter Bethany, were aquatic creatures and hadn’t ever seen trees or buildings topple The Evil Thing just toppled.
Stephanie waved her mackerel snack sword with glee, the emotion not the show…she was a penguin who hadn’t see that show of dancing & singing brats. But glee didn’t last that long, unlike the show, and black mucky liquid permeated into the ocean.
It was an oil spill, well we know it to be an oil spill, but to a penguin even a smart penguin it was black oily liquid clogging up the water. By attempting to do good Stephanie and her willing but dense accomplice Bethany had replaced The Evil Thing with The Black Liquid Mass Of Doom.
Sensing that heroics wasn’t really for her, Ms Stephanie X. Penguin of the Nautical Submariner Association bid The Black Liquid Mass Of Doom good day and returned home.
Once home and full of fish it was then that Stephanie did live happily ever after.
Well until The Black Liquid Mass Of Doom invaded her home but that is another tale for another time.
From the Doldrums of @delphic we got this piece;
The Old One
There is an old tale that many eons ago, before the old world there was a great divine being who saw the evil of the world, and as punishment he flooded the lands and all the evil in the world was vanquished. Only his faithful survived the great flood, and as a promise to his faithful followers he created a rainbow as a promise that he would never again end the world by water, but gods lie, and rainbows are nothing more than distorted light.
“Keep your wits about you my boy.” Altmun Zugain whispered to the young man next to him. “The old one could even be listening now.” Phillius Zugain did not need to pay much heed to his father’s words. He already knew that the ruins of the old world were dangerous. Normally they were ripe with mutants, monstrosities left over from a forgotten age, warped and changed from the time of the great tide. He did not believe in his father’s superstitious ales of the old ones; however, he instead dismissed them as exaggerated lore. Some of the men had claimed to have seen an old one, but many of them were only seeking to make themselves sound braver than they actually were. Tales of valor were only the delight of fools and children, and Phillius was no child and definitely not a fool.
These so called old ones, if they did exist, were nothing more than overgrown mutants. Nothing that could not be defeated without a firm resolve and a calculating mind. Phillius had no fear. He was the strongest and smartest of his age. Even the darkened ruins of the old world did not frighten him.
The hunting party was drawing closer to the black city, a series of towering structures that were hollow on the inside, and a maddening maze of what must have once been roads that ran in between them. The Black City was even said to have deep tunnels that ran beneath its surface and that place was where the hive of the mutants was hidden, and somewhere in that deep darkness was an old one.
It had been nearly an hour since they had past the Vigilant Queen. A towering statue of a crowned woman that guarded the pathway into the city. So far Phillius had not been a single mutant, let alone an old one. He thought he had heard calls, but a place such as this tended to evoke many strange sounds. It was important to not get jumpy.
Suddenly there was a loud scream coming from the left flank of the hunting party. Phillius twisted his body in the water, and strained his eyes to find the origin of the wails. Though his eyes had adjusted to the darkness that was typical beyond the walls of New Atlantis, but inside the Black City, as its namesake suggested, the interior of the ruins was another kind of darkness.
Finally he saw it. One of the men of the hunting party was fighting a strange and horrific creature. Phillius could just barely make out its black scaly skin, but its razor sharp claws on its hind and fore feet flashed in the darkness. Phillius swam with all his might, pulling his trident from the holster on his back. Then with one mighty thow he loosed the trident from his hand letting it speed through the water and with a sickening crunch the sharp points embedded in the creature’s back. With a loud roar, and a massive flailing of its body the trident fell from its back and sunk down into the dark.
Phillius felt a sense of dread come over him. That had been his hardest throw. There had been strength in such an attack that normally killed a Lion Shark with ease. This monstrosity just shook the attack off. The trident had barely broken its hide. That could have been the only way the trident would have fell out of the wound so easy. The creature turned on him, and Phillius drew his sword waiting for the imminent attack. The attack never came though. The mutant merely glowered at him, and flashed its teeth as it snarled. Then as if afraid it swam off into the darkness of the ruins.
Phillius swam to his fallen comrade, seeking more to see what the mutant had done rather than if the soldier was alive. Once he made it Phillius was immediately repulsed. The creature had gutted the man. The water was turning a shade of crimson, but despite all that Phillius could make out the man’s entrails as they unraveled, and the white glint of bone as it protruded broken and angled out of the flesh.
Something sped past him and up to the top of the structure that towered over him. It was the mutant. It looked down at him one last time then turned its head upward as it let out a loud shreicking wail, that rungen he first heart it, it sounded like children laughing, but it grew louder and louder and began to resemble the sound of an entire heard of whales dying. Crying out as they were devoured slowly.
Then out of the blackness they emerged. Thousands of mutants, all like the one he had just seen. Phillius felt fear creep up within him. The Atlantean horns of war began to sound as two more Atlantian soldiers took to his left and right and held their tridents forward and began to chant.
“Akh Ma Za Dun Na Hyah” They were preparing barrier the spells. Ancient weapons given to the Atlanteans to fight the old ones. His own weapon long gone Phillius turned and removed the trident from the carcass of the dead Atlantean and turned toward the approaching horde. Rising his weapon Phillius cried out with the others
“Akh Ma Za Dun Na Hyah!”
A bright light emerged from the tip of the trident forming a barrier separating Phillius from the monsters. The multitude of mutants crashed into him pushing him to the limits of his will to hold the barrier in place. This was a disaster. There was no way to fight this. The most they could hope for was to survive.
Then came the loud screams and then garbled wails as the Atlanteans to his sides failed to hold their barriers and were swallowed up by the monstrosities that surrounded them. Phillius pushed harder to hold the barrier partially out of will to survive and out of the fear of dying. Off in the distance he heard the battle cries of his father, and shifted his gaze long enough to see his father, the brave warrior Altmun Zugain, strike down mutant after mutant.
“Is this all you possess old one! Your minions do not frighten me! See as they fall at my feet! Come you great bastard! Face Me!”
His father the brave and inspirational leader. Even in the face of overwhelming odds. His father’s smile and laughter echoed through the water, almost sounding like the cries of a madman. In some ways it unnerved Phillius, because everything was telling him that they needed to run. What sort of slaughter had the Altmun lead them into?
Then he saw it. He tried to scream out for his father, but it was too late. The mutant had swam up behind his father and sunk its claws and teeth into his back and shoulders. Then another came, and another, and another. All chewing, gnawing, and ripping. Phillius watched in horror as his father was devoured. Then finally one mutant grabbed his father’s head on both sides and with on wrench separated the Altmun’s head from his spine. The mutant held the severed head high screeching out a cry of victory.
Now all was lost. The Altmun was dead. His father was dead, and so were the company of soldiers that had travelled with the into the Black City. Now he was all that was left surrounded by a seemingly infinite army of mutants. All awaiting to devour his flesh. Perhaps he should just loose the barrier that separated them. Just let it all end. There was no escape.
He let go, and awaited the end. He waited and waited and waited. It never came though. Had it happened that fast? So fast he never even felt it? No, It couldn’t be. He was still alive.
Phillius Zugain opened his eyes and from the moment he saw it he knew that hell would be in living. There were no mutants, no Black City, no infinite Sea, surface, sky or stars. There was only it. The Old One. It towered above. Stretched out into infinity. A completely indescribable horror.
It glared at him. The glow of its eyes ripped and pierced at his soul. He tried to scream but he could not. He tried to swim away, but he could not. It was just him and the Old One. Forever the Old God.
And finally from that Chicken of the Sea @cbishop we got our last piece
Manjaro the Manslayer stood a head-and-a-half higher than most men- even Finnrick the Fine. So with his broad shoulders, strong voice, and the studded mace he carried as his weapon, what he said carried weight with those around him. Especially when he was angry. His temper, backed by his mace, is what gained him the name Manslayer. So when Manjaro was angry, men were wary. When the person he was angry with stood their ground, they said a prayer to the gods for the fool’s soul. When the fool seemed unconcerned, those watching trembled with adrenaline, knowing they were about to witness a brutal death.
Such was the case aboard the karve, currently making its way across rough seas to a patch of swirling water. All men held tightly to their oars as they watched Manjaro yell into the face of their passenger- a man they called Draco. They called him this because of a necklace of teeth hanging across his bare chest, which he claimed came from a dragon. He had no hair on his head, a long, thick mustache that curved around his mouth and drooped down past his chin, was only a head shorter than Manjaro, and he was seemingly as unaffected by the cold as he was by Manjaro’s anger. He was the lone escort of a queen who had commissioned them for the trip, who currently rode in the hold with the livestock. An arrangement which was not to the men’s liking, and which Manjaro finally decided to speak up about.
“It’s bad luck for a woman to be aboard! We’ve lost five men to the raiding party, just out of port! Two to the waves! Three to the cold! ” The men grunted their support with each count, and continued to do so as he listed the casualties so far. “Two disappeared in that damned thick fog we had a couple of nights ago! We lost one in the attack of the giant devilfish! And one went into the hold for supplies and never came back out again!”
Draco stood casually, with his fists on his hips, waiting for Manjaro to finish. Then he said, “I killed the man who entered the hold.” Everyone went silent at that, including Manjaro.
From his position overlooking the men at their oars, Finnrick spoke up. Not bothering to hide the anger in his voice, he challenged, “What did you just say?”
Draco looked at him with no more concern than he had for Manjaro. “I told you I would bring out whatever supplies were required by the crew. The terms of your commission included that no one may enter the hold. None may lay eyes upon the queen. He did both. So I killed him.”
The crew remained silent. Manjaro still stood, seething, chest heaving with his anger. So he smiled when Finnrick said, “Manjaro, kill him and throw him overboard. Then guard the hold for the remainder of the voyage.”
Manjaro closed what little space there was between himself and Draco, and through gritted teeth, he said, “Now, Draco, you find out why they call me Manjaro the Manslayer.” Then he heaved the mace into the air, and brought it down with an angry roar.
Draco caught the head of the mace in his hand, stopping it’s swing. Manjaro gaped. The escort, still unconcerned, said, “That would be impressive, boy, if I were a man.” He then hit Manjaro in the chest with the flat of his palm, shoving him several paces backwards, where he fell over the first row of oar benches. “And I’m tired of telling you: my name…is Heironymous.”
Manjaro started to get up when Finnrick called out, “We’re here!”
The men looked out at the swirling water. “What do you expect to find here?” asked Finnrick.
As if on cue, a giant beast rose out of the water, it’s long neck towering over the ship. Heironymous answered, “That- Leviathan.” Looking to the mage, Ulrich the Unnatural, he asked, “Do you have the item I entrusted you with?”
Ulrich produced a small glowing spike and answered, “It is here.”
Heironymous took the spike, looked at Leviathan, and said, “Wait for me to return.” He then ran for the stern of the ship, jumped to the rail, and bounded off at the beast. Both roared hellishly, drowning out the sound of the wind and waves.
“What the hell is he?” asked Manjaro, clearly in awe.
“He’s a dragon,” answered Ulrich. “Now watch.”
Now drink up me hearties and vote.