A short tale by Dare Pelletier
On the wild seas of the eastern coast of Loria, an enormous wave crashed down on a ship, sinking it within a heartbeat. Everything was submerged, and the ocean surged and raged.
Aerich Freewater couldn’t pull himself to the surface. The riptides and waves pushed, pulled and tugged him around.
He could see a large wave rising from the sea. Only a second later, it came careening down upon Aerich and the remains of the ship, and whoever else had survived the sinking. Everything went dark.
When the Aerich’s eyes began to open, all he saw was a faint red light coming from further down. Someone was holding his hand. The hand had the shape of a humanoid hand, but it felt scaly, and clawed.
His eyes slowly opened more and more, revealing more of the figure. It had scaled reddish-orangish skin, and wore strange tattered clothes made of just about anything you could find under the ocean. Their skin was adorned with small gems, jewels and seashells.
Strangely, there weren’t very many fish. The area that Aerich was in (or thought he was in) was known for its aquatic abundance.
Aerich could hear a low rumbling coming from further down through the water. The figure was pulling him closer to the light and the rumbling. By now, hardly any light was coming through from the surface, and it was completely dark aside from the red light.
Originally, Aerich thought this was a Merfolk. And it could have been, but Merfolk like to build their settlements closer to the surface, where light comes in the water from the surface.
They were almost at the bottom of the ocean. None of this makes sense, Aerich thought. How could I have gotten to the bottom so fast? How am I able to survive under the water?
Just bellow them, there was black and red coral, and an eerie red bioluminescent jellyfish. The rumbling was getting louder. The strange Merfolk pulled Aerich right to the bottom, so his bare feet could actually touch the muddy ground.
All around Aerich was red, black, orange and scarlet coral. The rumbling was louder than ever.
Suddenly the sands bellow Aerich’s feet began to shake. The sand and muck swirled and stirred up, creating a cloud of dust. Aerich felt almost as though small rocks were now piercing the bottom of his feet.
The strange Merfolk or whatever it was let go of Aerich’s hand. The creature turned to look at Aerich. He couldn’t tell if the creature was male or female, but the creature had a very human-like face.
Aerich did not know what would fare from now, but the creature seemed to be getting ready for something.
Suddenly the creature grabbed Aerich’s hand and pulled him to the side. His arm lightly touched the coral. Suddenly a painful stinging feeling went through Aerich’s body. He looked down at his arm and noticed small red marks on his skin. The coral was dotted with small, slim sharp stingers. At least ten of those stingers pierced into his arm.
The ground shook once more, before a long red and orange tentacle rose from the sand. The tentacle was scarred and cut. Suddenly two other tentacles slowly rose from the sand, and then two more. Tentacles kept rising until there were eight in total. The creature fully rose from the water to reveal itself to be an orange octopus-like beast.
To Aerich’s surprise, the Merfolk suddenly spoke:
“Elmjir, I have brought the one you wanted.”
After a moment of silence, the creature let out a terrifying screech. With that, the Merfolk darted above the coral and back through the dark water. Aerich tried to swim up, but couldn’t go as fast as the Merfolk.
Aerich noticed something strange when he was swimming. He had scales like the Merfolk. However he didn’t have time to worry or give very much though to it.
The beast crashed a giant tentacle down upon the coral, the stingers not affecting it. The creature brought down another tentacle, this time grabbing Aerich and pulling him down.
Aerich had forgotten something vital. He had a blade sheathed at his side. It was nothing more than an old bronze blade, but he cut the beast.
The beast lowered it’s injured tentacle and brought up another tentacle like thing, this one much thinner. The tentacle rapped around him. Aerich lost his sword and watched it hit the ground, stirring up sand.
The creature pulled Aerich closer and closer to its beak, and then, Aerich thought of his family and his ship, and friends, and the creature snapped its beak shut.