Character Creation Contest #98 - The Rise Of The Octopus Man

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Edited By cbishop
The Rise Of The Octopus Man, by Lloyd Harvey on inprnt
The Rise Of The Octopus Man, by Lloyd Harvey on inprnt

Okay, peeps, it's time for CCC #98, and I'm going to a pic I've been holding in reserve for a long time: The Rise Of The Octopus Man, by Lloyd Harvey, originally found on inprnt.com. Currently, I can only find it on Dribbble. He did a second picture, The Octopus Man, which you can see below.

The Octopus Man, by Lloyd Harvey on inprnt
The Octopus Man, by Lloyd Harvey on inprnt

For this contest, your title is The Rise of The Octopus Man. Your OC is who he was before he became The Octopus Man Name him. Two things you have to tell in the story: how your OC got to be The Octopus Man, and why he's rising now.

The rules:

  • The Octopus Man was created by Lloyd Harvey, so that can't be our Original Character. So for this contest, your OC is the man who became The Octopus Man. Name your OC, and tell us the origin of how he became The Octopus Man.
  • Tell us why he has risen.
  • No word limit.
  • Deadline is Sunday, May 10, 2020, @11:59PM New York time (click the link if you're unsure).
  • Winner will get to pick the theme for CCC #99, approximately a month from now.

I look forward to your entries. Have fun, and see you in about two weeks.

Remember: deadline is Sunday, May 10, 2020, @11:59PM New York time!

I'm glad you're here! Please join us for the fun, and enter your story! -cb

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@nordok or @wildvine: Will you please pin this, and unpin the CCC 97 Voting Thread? Thank you.

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Coolio

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Finally, a prequel to CCC 23. Excellent idea

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Love that art and concept. Not too far from triple digits now.

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#5  Edited By cbishop

@batkevin74 said:

Coolio

It's doable! :^D

@wildvine said:

Finally, a prequel to CCC 23. Excellent idea

<whistles nervously> heh heh... hadn't... thought of... that one... heh. <.< >.> #totallymyplan

@tommythehitman said:

Love that art and concept. Not too far from triple digits now.

Well, y'know, Batkevin' has said forever that he's out after #100... or maybe 101, just to be sure. :)

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@wildvine said:

Finally, a prequel to CCC 23. Excellent idea

They come out at night, by Svenja Gosen on inprnt
They come out at night, by Svenja Gosen on inprnt

I did think of that (and will probably connect them), but I swear, I came really close to requesting a sequel to CCC 14 with this:

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Well, 400= words in and I realize I have dressed the character wrongly. I suppose it may not matter, but I'd like to keep to the image as per OG CCC rules, as a personal challenge. I think I can make the adjustments with some creativity and lots of sleep

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Otto Mire - The Octopus Man

(The following is a collection of evidence compiled together in the ruins of Crampton, New England).

The Crampton Weekly – Edition 67 – 29/12/1904 – Written by Sutter Crane

It was in the early hours of the morning when we were all woken by the sound of thunder and lightning ripping through the sky, though I doubt anyone was surprised by the disturbance. Storms are fairly typical this time of year, though what happened because of the storm is far from normal.

At 2AM most of our small village was either asleep or trying to get that way. Which is why the group of sailors that washed up on our shores comes as such a surprise. I’m sure many of you have noticed the massive hull of the USS Philips off in the distance, tipped on its side but I’ll fill you in on the details anyway.

I spoke to Ensign Taylor as soon as I heard about the disturbance. He was with his colleagues at The Gillman, all of them were grouped around a small fire trying desperately, desperately to get warm. Just thinking about how cold those waters must have been sends chills down my spine.

“It was the strangest occurrence.” Taylor manages to tell me in between the chattering of his teeth. “I was on the bridge when it happened. One moment everything was completely fine, serene… and the next moment everything was chaos.” According to Taylor, the USS Philips was on its way back to Washington following a trip to Australia, a terribly lengthy voyage only to be met with defeat.

“Captain Taggert ordered me to the Cargo Hold.” Taylor continued. “We had some important resources down there we needed to make sure were secure, but the ship capsized before I could get there.”

When asked how many crewmembers the ship held, Taylor grew grim. He explained to me that the five or so others that were sat around the fire with him were less than a fraction of the many members that ship had held.

What a way to end the year!

I suggest we all send our thoughts and prayers to the poor souls still struggling aboard that vessel and may God wish them well!

______________________________________________________

The Crampton Weekly – Edition 68 – 5/01/1905 – Written by Sutter Crane.

It was 9AM last Wednesday when Crampton’s local celebrity and deep-sea Diver, Otto Mire volunteered to explore the ship. Otto (photographed below with his wife Deborah and two children) – PHOTOGRAPH NOT INCLUDED – as I’m sure you all know put Crampton on the map a few years ago when he became the first man to discover the rare breed of Cuttlefish that has recently taken to our shores.

Otto, a close friend of mine I must confess, showed up at my house in the early hours of the morning. Deborah was with him and the man was already wearing most of his diving suit save for the helmet.

“Sutter.” He said in the same heroic voice he always sports. “There are people dying on that ship and I’ve gotta do something.”

We ventured to Mire’s Cove (named after our hero and an ideal spot for divers). Otto donned his helmet and explained to me his plan for this operation.

“I’m going to go up to the Philips’ hull and see if I can’t find a way in.” He said this while Deborah checked to make sure his suit was securely fastened and such. “I’ll give you a tug on the breather ever 15 minutes or so to let you know I’m alright.” He cracked us a smile under the helmet. “If I’m not… well pull me back up.”

We all smiled at this, though in truth I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel nervous. I told Otto good luck, his wife kissed his helmet and he submerged.

Deborah and I waited there for 15 minutes and Tom gave us a tug on the breather. We waited another 15 and there was another tug. My nerves began to settle.

45 minutes passed since Otto had submerged. I stared at the man’s breathing apparatus waiting patiently. 50 minutes passed. Deborah looked at me, panic in her eyes. An hour went by and there had been no sign from Otto.

It was 9AM when Otto had submerged, that was the last time we saw him.

Deborah and I began to reel the Diver back in, though it was a difficult job given how heavy the suit was. Many minutes of silent work went by, finally we reached the end of Otto’s tether… but there was nothing there.

I’m beginning to suspect, dear readers that there is something terrible aboard the USS Philips, though what terrible cargo that vessel has brought to our quiet shores I do not know.

We shall be having a candlelit vigil for our Otto and the rest of the Philips’ sailors at 6PM this evening, I hope I will see you all there.

_______________________________________________________

The Crampton Weekly – Edition 69 – 12/01/1905 – Written by Sutter Crane.

As I’m sure you all know this week has been quite hectic.

I knew that something strange was happening as soon as the men in the black suits arrived. Crampton very rarely receives visitors and given the recent events there was no question as to why they were here.

From what I’m told they ignored most of the townsfolks, instead moving immediately to The Gillman where the survivors of the USS Philips’ were staying. Sally Gilly (owner of The Gillman) tells me that there were some hushed conversations between the sailors and their guests, though she was not privy to the details.

It was on the Monday when the men in suits had arrived, it was Tuesday when they left. They took the survivors with them and left with barely even a word, though that wasn’t the last we heard from them.

Last night came the sound of an explosion from the approximate location of where the USS Philips sunk. Though it’s quite impossible for the cause of this destruction to be determined this humble reporter can ponder a few guesses.

There is something sinister beneath the shores of Crampton, dear readers. I do not know what it is and I’m not certain that I want to. Though I am not certain that an answer shall be uncovered, I am certain that sinister forces are at play here.

Tonight, I request that the town prays, not for anyone else but for your friends, neighbours and family.

There’s a good chance only God may help us now.

___________________________________________________

The Crampton Weekly – Special Edition – 15/01/1905 – Written by Sutter Crane.

Otto Mire is alive, dear readers! Otto Mire is alive!

It has been ten days since our poor hero first submerged beneath the black waves and by all accounts, he should be dead! Yet somehow the man is alive… though we may wish he wasn’t.

It was at 6 in the morning when Father Craddock was enjoying his weekly spot of fishing, as we all know he likes to do. The poor man… he tells me he was by Mire’s Cove when it happened, simply sat there peacefully with his fishing rod gently twitching with the water.

“There was nothing but me and the wind.” Craddock told me, his eyes staring up at the ceiling as he lay upon his hospital bed. “My fishing mornings are my favourite parts of the week; the peace and serenity bring me closer to God… but today… today I think I was brought closer to the Devil!” Craddock’s eyes never left the ceiling, even as he continued to explain the horrible sights he saw. “I… I saw the water by my feet begin to break and shift. Rising up from the water there was a… a round, bronze device! I saw him come to the surface, shambling towards me and inn my panic I ran up the beach, crucifix in my hand! I turned back to see what was rising from the water… and I saw Otto! He was still dressed in his Diving outfit and he was thin! Dreadfully thin! He seemed soaked to the bone, but the worst part was the helmet. Coming from Otto’s helmet and by extension his face… was some sort of parasite!”

The Nurse refused to let me stay in the room a moment longer, terrible state that the Father was in.

For those of you unaware, Officer Gilly is organizing a group to find Otto… or whatever has taken his form. Craddock remembers Otto heading away from the town and as such is searching in that vicinity.

Our thoughts should be with Otto’s wife and children at this time.

__________________________________________________________________

The following is a typed Transcript found at a bloody scene. Two bodies were found belonging to Sutter Crane and Ms Sharon Tate (The Transcript’s typist).

Dated: 17/01/1905

(Mister Crane – the Interviewer – is seated at a table. Across from him is what shall be referred to as Mister Otto Mire, though his identity still has yet to be confirmed).

Sutter Crane: Hello, Otto.

(There is silence).

Sutter Crane: Is… is there another name you’d prefer to be known as?

Otto Mire: My true name cannot be pronounced by your tongue.

Sutter Crane: Is there something you would prefer to be called?

Otto Mire:You may call me “Master”.

Sutter Crane: Alright. “Master”, would you mind telling me what’s going on?

Otto Mire: Currently? You are addressing a more advanced lifeform as if you were talking to a common vagabond.

Sutter Crane:Oh?

Otto Mire: What you see before you may look like Otto Mire. It may sound like Otto Mire. But it is not Otto Mire.

Sutter Crane: What are you then?

Otto Mire: What I am is the beginning, Sutter Crane. The beginning of what? The beginning of your end at the very least… and most likely the end of your civilisation.

Sutter Crane: So, you’re thinking of killing me? Like you killed Officer Gilly? Is there anything of Otto left inside you?

Otto Mire: There is not.

Sutter Crane: And I presume you took him once he entered the remains of the USS Philips?

(Otto nods).

Sutter Crane: May I also presume that you are responsible for causing the Philips’ sinking in the process?

Otto Mire: Our power is limitless.

(There is a slight pause).

Sutter Crane: “Our?”

Otto Mire: Of course, Sutter. You didn’t presume that your friend, Mister Mire is the only one under my control… did you?

Sutter Crane:If I’m being honest, Otto… I don’t quite understand what I’m talking to.

Otto Mire: It’s… Master. And there were hundreds of sailors aboard that vessel, Sutter. What do you PRESUME happened to all the bodies?

Sutter Crane: I don’t know, Otto. What did happen to them?

Otto Mire:Well. They’re beneath the ocean, Sutter. Drifting with the tides. They’re rising up at all the beaches across the world just like I did. These Octopus Men are just like the one before you… and they’re only the beginning.

(Sutter stops taking notes).

Sutter Crane: And… and why are you telling me this?

Otto Mire: Because you’re not going to leave this room alive.

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How WW1 was won...

25th April, 1915, 1am, off the Turkish Coast

“Oi! Bluey! What is that thing?”

Bluey; officially Private First Class Maxwell Grant, over at his mate Charlie Lynch beside him and held up the small silver bell, ornately engraved. Maxwell had been called Bluey ever since he signed up, due to his red hair. It didn’t bother him.

“Is that a trinket from Cairo?”

Bluey shook his head. “Nah, me mum gave me this.”

“A bell?” Charlie scratches his head.

“YOU MEN BE QUIET!” Major Edmund Drake-Brockman bellowed which sounded like it could be heard all the way in Istanbul. The entire rowboat went quiet as did several other boats nearby as they bobbed in the water. It was sometime after midnight somewhere off the Dardanelles. In the wee small hours they were about to invade Turkey. Charlie sniggered, which made Bluey snigger which soon had most of the boat in giggles. But as soon as the click of the Major’s pistol happened, it was dead silent.

“Go on!” whispered Charlie. “What’s with the bell?”

“It’s a long story.” Bluey quietly replied. “And you heard the Major.”

“We’re in a rowboat, about to attack Johnny Turk and win the war,” Charlie smiled. “One little story won’t kill anyone.”

Bluey couldn’t help but smile at his mate from Mount Isa Queensland. He, like Bluey, had eagerly signed up for the war. It was a great way to see the world and do your bit for Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Under normal circumstances he and Charlie would never have met, separated by 2300km. Charlie was the son of a copper miner and would’ve continued the family tradition while Bluey was from Geelong in Victoria and destined for either law or medical school depending on his marks. This Great War was an adventure.

“My mother got this from her grandmother, who got it from her grandmother who got it from the sister of this bloke,” Bluey pointed to an inscription. “Guiseppe Caprotti da Oreno who was the brother of Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno who was an apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci.”

Charlie nodded his head then looked Bluey in the eye. “Bull$#!+!”

“I swear, all true!” Bluey crossed his heart. “Family heirloom.”

“And your mum gave it to you to bring to alert the Turks on your position?” Charlie chuckled. Bluey elbowed his friend in the ribs to shut him up.

“No, you want to hear the story?”

“No!” Charlie said before smiling broadly. “Go on Blue.”

“So back in Venice about five hundred years ago, Leonardo da Vinci had a workshop....”

1483, Venice, Italy

“It looks like an octopus!” Gian stated as he held up the weird contraption his master had placed on the table. “What is it?”

“A device to walk under the waves,” Leonardo da Vinci said as he took it off his apprentice and laid it upon the table. “But yes, Gian, it is based off an octopus. It makes one into an octopus man.”

Gian looked at the device. “I don’t understand.”

Leonardo patted him on the shoulder. “We breathe yes?”

“Yes.”

“Air,” the inventor waved his arms around to highlight. “Goes in and out. But underwater, it goes out but not in. The octopus...” He smiled at Gian. “Will allow someone to breathe air underwater. The tube has the air, it will be like strolling down to the piazza.”

“Just underwater.” Gian added.

“Precisely. But it needs work,” Leonardo mused as he looked at it. “Maybe a heavier helmet or boot...I’m not sure.”

“Bull$#!£!” Charlie interrupted. “You’re telling tall tales. I’m getting some shut eye before we march into Constipation tomorrow.”

“Constantinople,” Bluey corrected him. “And it’s all true. Why would my mother lie to me?”

“To shut you up, you orange rat!” hissed a voice next to him. The harsh criticism came from New Zealand soldier Howard Parker. “Keep yapping and you’re over the side!”

Charlie nudged closer, leant over Bluey and whacked Howard in the jaw. His head snapped back against the boat and it was all silent. “Go on,” Charlie said, impressed by his own punch.

“Basically the bell was carved by Guiseppe’s wife after he died trying to make the octopus suit work,” Bluey showed Charlie the scenes engraved on the bell. He squinted in the moonlight but could barely make it out. “It’s said she cursed Leonardo, putting her hatred and grief into the bell. And that if the bell was rung and tossed into the sea, Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno would rise again.”

Charlie looked at his friend. “Don’t you think his missus would’ve used the bell by now?”

Bluey tucked the bell back into his khaki shirt pocket and bedded down.

“Only kidding Bluey,” Charlie tried to make amends. Bluey shrugged and rolled into the unconscious Howard as a pillow. “Bluey? Bluey!”

“Ssh!” Bluey seethed as he tried to force himself to sleep.

A shrill whistle woke everyone up, though most hadn’t slept at all. Major Edmund Drake-Brockman barked something which was incomprehensible as each boat scrambled up and rowed in to the Turkish coast. Charlie tried to talk to Bluey but he was manning an oar. The boats rode the waves in towards the shore. It was like an early morning punt...until boat six exploded from an artillery shell sending men into the air. Suddenly it all became very real!

As their boat wedged into the sand; Charlie was over the side and running for the beach, a dozen others with him. Bluey threw the oar into the surf, gathered his rifle and followed his mates. Bullets whizzed by him. Bluey lurched as the boat was bumped by an incoming wave. From out of his coat bounced the bell; it smacked the side of boat, spun, hit the bench seat and scurried around the bottom. Bluey clambered after it.

Even as he ran for cover, Charlie heard the chime. He dove onto the sand and looked back at the boats.

“Come on Bluey,” Charlie said.

Bluey grabbed the bell and a wave of relief washed over him. He stood up. The Turkish bullet slammed into his cheek and passed into his brain. Bluey fell backwards into sea.

“NO!” Charlie started back for his friend when Howard Parker grabbed his arm and wrenched him back to the ground.

“Leave him!”

“But...”

Howard grabbed Charlie’s face and pointed it to the sandy cliffs in front of them. “We have to go this way, not that way!”

Charlie whimpered. He was terrified and angry and scared. He didn’t know what to do or feel. Explosions shook the beach. Men suddenly stopped running as bullets from the bluffs greeted them. Some died instantly; others lay and screamed in agony. Charlie sucked in some air and swore loudly.

25th of April, 6pm.

A lone bugler belted out the haunting last post across the cove. Guns on both sides were amazingly silent. Charlie Lynch huddled in hole he and his fellow soldiers had carved into the cliffs. Today had been horrific and that really didn’t capture it.

The sun slowly set. Charlie wanted to cry. He looked around at the other soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force who were in the same shape. He gazed longingly out across the beach. Some odd bubbles caught his eye. Slowly, menacingly, a figure emerged from the water and marched up the beach.

It stood about six feet tall, dressed in slimy brown leathers, a tarnished bowl helmet upon its head and octopus tentacles where a face should be. Charlie gasped and clutched at Howard.

“It’s Bluey!”

Howard was puzzled and looked towards what Charlie was babbling about. Howard went white and filled his pants.

“What in God’s name is that?” Howard crossed himself.

“It’s Bluey!” Charlie said. “I think. He had a bell, from Leonardo da Vinci...I can’t remember! It’s a bell that summoned something or...”

The creature trudged up the beach towards the Turkish line. Cries of horror erupted from AIF soldiers who saw it. Bullets rained down from the Turkish line at the advancing thing but it just kept walking forward. Charlie grabbed a lantern and ran over to the monster.

“Bluey! Bluey! It’s me, Charlie.”

The creature stopped and looked him up and down. It muttered something and kept walking. Charlie followed behind it using him as cover.

“CHARLIE!”

Charlie ignored Howard’s shout and waved him over to join him. The monster climbed up the cliff using hands and face tentacles. Shout and calls from the Turkish side as the concentrated upon this advancing thing. Howard ran up to Charlie.

“What the hell?”

“We need to find someone who speaks Latin or Italian,” Charlie said as he scrambled up the cliff after the monster. “Go tell the Major.”

The Octopus Man moved into a trench much to the horror of the Turkish troops. It batted a soldier aside and stomped on the nearby machine gun nest. It marched onward and forward smiting anything that got in its path. Charlie Lynch followed it popping out to take shots at fleeing terrified Turks.

“Good job Bluey,” he encouraged the monster as they invaded the Turkish line.

The Octopus Man’s attack turned the tide on that day. The unstoppable monster chased the Turks back to Sarkoy, some seventy kilometres west of the landing. Major Edmund Drake-Brockman spoke a little Latin and tried to speak with the creature. It muttered over and over “Venice to see Leonardo.”

Using that, the AIF fell in behind the Octopus Man using the horrific creature to scare off their enemies. The initial diversionary tactic of deploying the Australians to the Dardenelles to split the Germans focus turned into an actual second front. The Octopus Man trudged terrifyingly onwards.

Within three days the Turks had retreated and given the AIF access to the Sea of Marmara.

“Bull$#!+!” yelped Angus Lynch, the eight year old grandson of Charlie Lynch, into his grandad’s ear. “That’s rubbish!”

“Entirely true,” Charlie replied with a smile. “The reason we won The Great War was the Octopus Man.”

“So where is he now?”

“He turned left at Bulgaria and marched all the way to Venice.” Charlie said as he crossed his medals.

“Why isn’t there anything about this on the Internet?” Angus asked.

“Oh there is, you just have to Goggle it.”

“It’s called Goo-Gel, grandad! Jeez!”

Charlie ushered his young grandson off his lap. “Come on, we’ve got to get some sleep. We got an early morning tomorrow for the dawn service.”

Charlie Lynch slowly stood up and watched Angus charge out the room. He wandered over to the mantle piece to the ornate silver bell sitting there next to the photo of his wife Camille.

“At least that’s what I recall,” Charlie said.

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<sigh> I'm going to be writing mine after work tonight. I'll probably be seeing what I can do in 4 or 5 hours. Yeesh. Why do I do that? lol

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#14  Edited By cbishop

Here 'tis:

The Rise of the Octopus Man

New York. Two months ago:

A private eye finds his lawyer struggling with an octopus man. "It's not funny, Jeanine."

"Oh, Solomon! Get this thing off of me!"

"It's not funny, Jeanine. Turn him back."

"Solomon Seal! This is no time for games! Help me! Shoot it!"

"I said turn my brother back, Jeanine. Now."

Suddenly undisturbed by the tentacles entangling her, Jeanine looked at the private eye coolly. "Damn! How'd you know it was him?"

"He's wearing my dad's watch. He hardly ever takes it off. Plus I was expecting him. Now turn Titus back to normal."

After another minute of bickering, she rolled her eyes, huffed, snapped her fingers, and Titus turned back to normal. "Oh, relax, crabby. We were just having some fun. Weren't we Up-Titus?"

Atlantic end of the English Channel. Two months ago:

He sits on a coral throne at the bottom of the Channel. He has sat there so long that he himself is covered in coral. So covered in coral that if anyone were to discover him, they would think him to be some ancient, lost work of art, or perhaps the body of some long forgotten sailor. They would be partially right on both counts.

Now though, he hears once again the eldritch call of the magic that created him. Ever so slowly due to the coral that has attached itself to his eyelids, he opens his eyes. He attempts to shift, but at first doesn't budge. He exerts himself again, and a low moan goes out that sounds like a monster climbing out of a nightmare. Then another moan. Then another. And another. Finally, there is a shift in the silt around the coral throne. The moans grow louder, until finally the coral cracks and breaks with a loud, echoing crack that causes a school of small fish to change direction and flee.

He lifts one arm, then another, and then both of his legs. More of the attached coral cracks, and he shakes it off until he is able to walk out of the pile of it. The strange creature from the throne reaches up tentatively to feel its coral-covered head, then balls up his fists, and punches both sides sharply, causing the coral to break and fall away. This reveals an old diving helmet underneath. He stands there only a moment before several octopus arms wriggle out of the helmet's faceplate, blue rings all along them flashing their iridescence intermittently, and then he starts to walk.

As he does so, he begins to recall his life before the ocean.

Times forgotten:

He has had more names than he can remember, but the first that man ever bothered to remember to any degree was Tyr. The Norse god of war. The Sky Father. He who gave up his sword arm to see Fenrir bound by the silken chain made from Sif's slender lock. As the gods moved around the world, he would be known as Ares in Greece, and Mars in Rome. Still a god of war.

1758-1805:

Even in England. Intrigued by the way the Son of God had lived a mortal life to win a great victory, the war god decided to try it for himself. Born anew and whole in Norfolk, he grew into a flag officer and was known as Lord Horatio Nelson. Even there, he could not escape his true nature, as Lord Byron- a god in hiding himself- rightly called him "Britannia's god of war."

Britannia's wars took an eye from him, and true to his roots, he lost his right arm again as well, this time having to amputate it himself in a naval battle. This was the end of his mortal life as Nelson, as he returned to England to recuperate from his wound, and this is where he met Miss Fairchild.

Miss Fairchild had been hired as his nurse during his recuperation, and they had become quite taken with each other. It was some months before he found out her true nature as a vampyre and witch. What does a god care of these things though? Having not yet come back into the full of his own power, he asked Miss Fairchild to heal him.

Her own powers didn't quite extend into healing, but she did have a solution that shocked him to his core. Jeanine knew many things about animals. Even animals that lived beneath the sea. Something she knew about the octopus was that it could grow back lost appendages. She suggested that she could transform Lord Nelson into an octopus-human hybrid, he could grow back his own appendage, and then she could turn him back into a man. By this time, perhaps his godhood would have reasserted itself, and he could move on to his next life elsewhere.

The plan was carried out. A special water tank was built in Lord Nelson's library which would sustain him during his transformed state. While the construction was being carried out though, whispers of its purpose began to circulate among the house servants, and these soon spilled out to the community. Miss Fairchild performed her magics, Lord Nelson was transformed, and transferred from bed to tank.

The hybrid state was a strange one. His body was still mainly that of a man, but his head had become the body of an octopus. The head rested horizontally upon his neck, and the octopus beak pointed forward from roughly the position of the human mouth, surrounded by the eight tentacled arms of the octopus. Submerged in the tank, he found that he could breathe just fine, but as his head was now octopus, he could not speak.

Almost immediately, the house was stormed by commoners, nobles, and military alike. The tank was destroyed, and Lord Nelson might have been as well if the trauma of the attack had not brought on his godhood once again. Between his godly might, and the vampiric powers of Miss Fairchild, they were able to fight off their attackers and flee, but not together.

Miss Fairchild, now exposed, and in dread fear for her own life, boarded a boat for the Americas, and was never heard of in Britannia again. Most unfortunate for Nelson, for although a god once again, he found that he could not reverse this transformation, because it did not originate from his own power. In short, he was stuck in this octopus-man state until such time as he could find Miss Fairchild again.

Unable to explain his appearance or visage to his attackers, once he had them at bay, Horatio's only option was to flee. The chase led through the countryside and to the harbor, where he took to the water, and discovered that he could emit a dark cloud of ink to aid him in evading his pursuers, which he did. Once he had eluded them, he took to the seabed, and there he stayed while he tried to figure out how he could find Miss Fairchild again.

Of course he had thought of boarding another boat bound for the Americas. Unfortunately, he could not get around his odd appearance, and could not see any sailor doing so either. So he remained in the English Channel, biding his time. Eventually, he found a discarded diving helmet, and put it on to help protect himself against any potential predators. As the years passed, the possibility of reversing his fate gave way to anger, and then to despair as even revenge seemed unlikely. And so he sat on his coral throne, brooding until he became one with it.

Mid-Atlantic floor. One month ago:

Until thirty days ago when he felt once again the stirring of that strange magic that Miss Fairchild had used to transform him. Now, he followed the pull of it- as strong against him as the current against an anchor, but he moved with it willingly. As he did so, he felt the stirrings once again of hope. The hope of transformation back to man-god. The hope of new life after the ocean. The hope of revenge.

New York Harbor. Midnight tonight:

As he waded to the shore, that hope had turned into an all consuming desire. Revenge would be his. He would find Miss Fairchild. She would reverse his transformation. And then, as surely as he was a god, he would punish her. Cruelly. For ages. Be wary, Miss Fairchild, he thought. For I am coming. Revenge is coming. The Octopus Man is coming. I am coming. I...

New York City. Midnight tonight:

"HORATIO!" gasped Jeanine Fairchild as she jerked awake from her dream.

"Hm? What?" came the sleepy voice of the man stirring beside her.

"Nothing, Solomon. Go back to sleep," she said, wondering what her dream meant.

"Mnnn," he moaned in objection. "I don't know if I want to. I was having the strangest dream. Some guy walking underwater with a light-up squid for a head. Creepy."

"It's a blue-ringed octopus," Jeanine corrected absentmindedly.

"Oh, yeah, like that's better," said Solomon as he rolled over.

Then, "HEY! Wait a minute!" they both shouted. "You dreamed it too?!"

Side Note: A little ticked. I was on track for once to be a little bit early, not right at the deadline. What happens? My computer is the only one in the stinkin' apartment to suddenly lose its connection to the Internet! Aghhh! ...Ah, well, a reboot got it back, and here we are. Still thirteen <laughs sarcastically> minutes to spare. La-dee-dah.

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cbishop

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And that's time, peeps. I'll have the voting thread up in a bit.