An excerpt from book 4 in the Half-Elf Chronicles series! We join the characters aboard the Rat Raft upon the high seas with a great danger closing in!
Yurl let go of the wheel and turned toward them. “It is all clear sea back to port. Whatever magic or curses so many believe in, we must’ve escaped. Or maybe the good ole’ Rat Raft is too fast for your sea monster!”
There was a sudden ear-splitting sound that caused everyone to drop low on the deck. Brethor looked over to the skeletal-ridden monstrosity of a wall and noticed massive tentacles cresting over the top. At first, there was just two and then came three and then six and then eight.
“Make ready the crossbows, men. Port side crew, to the starboard with spears. We’ve fought a tentacled beast before. Let’s turn this one to meat too!
Jesia now stood with the others, staring at the large tentacles snaking their way over the wall. A massive mass of flesh appeared just over the top. It was like a mix of a large crab and a red mushroom of sorts. From its head crawled the small tentacled creatures they had fought in the temple. It had no eyes they could see. Another piercing sound, this time louder, caused them to all cover their ears.
Brethor’s ears rang. He went to Yurl.
“You have fought creatures like this?” He pointed.
“A tentacled beast is a tentacled beast.”
“That is a leviathan like the ancient stories, that is no mere tentacled beast!”
The ship was now parallel with the creature. Veora walked along the deck near the crossbows. She raised her staff, and a green flame grew brightly. At the moment of its pinnacle, she fired it, and a barrage of crossbow bolts followed with it. There were multiple strikes along its form, but the creature seemed to care little. The few bolts that stuck seemed to slip off as the creature dropped into the water and slid under the surface.
Yurl turned the ship.
“Winds of the sea, quickly!”
Several men ran to the back of the ship. Brethor assisted them in assuring the flow out the back was good. Yurl got in place at the helm just as it seemed they had run aground.
Multiple tentacles shot up around them and slapped at the deck. The creature’s body itself was visible on their port side, but the tentacles were the main enemy the crew was worried of. The ship was tossed from one side to the other. It was difficult to walk. As the creature seemed to pull the ship to one side, those manning the crossbows fired into its form. There was a loud roar under the surface, and the entire ship vibrated.
Jesia unleashed several explosive fiery spells at tentacles attempting to wrap around the ship’s center masts. She wasn’t sure how much damage was done, but they at least released. Brethor slashed at one of the tentacles, and another few of the crew managed to pin one down and cut it in two, but from any area the tentacles were sliced, more tentacles grew.
Veora summoned shadowlings to attack the creature itself. The little black creatures ran along the deck of the ship and leaped to the tentacles, following them back to the actual Leviathan and stabbing it over and over. She lifted her staff above her head and made a large green orb around herself. As it expanded out in a wind-shifting blast, she yelled, “Arise!”
At first, none could tell what she had done, but soon, the water brimmed with dead men clawing at the Leviathan and distracting its many tentacles. The ship was released for the moment, but the ropes were damaged. It couldn’t move away.
“My spell will not last long. I do not have the moon to give me more power and not the time to cast a longer enchantment.”
As Veora’s summonings attacked the creature, the crew worked to replace the ropes as quickly as they could. They had little time to escape the Leviathan.
Kealin reached the surface and coughed over and over as the tentacles of the plant reached air and immediately retracted out of his nose. He was expelled from the caves onto a rocky beach and had a sight of the gateway where they had come through aboard the Rat Raft. The air was still bleak, and the island he had ended up on was very small. It made sense why he didn’t see it coming in.
He looked into the hole he had emerged from and noticed it had vanished. Stone now covered what was before a passage. He stumbled about on the beach and then felt a deep rumble. He listened and could hear shouting. He looked around, confused at the moment at what he could do and wondered if Yurl and the others had gotten into trouble. He then remembered his hammer he had gotten from Ruak, and his Glacial Sea friend.
He took out the hammer and struck the rocky beach water. In the waters behind him, he saw a flash of light that quivered. At first it seemed it wasn’t working but then, just as before, Tulasiro emerged.
My friend, thank you for coming.
Good fish. Tulasiro worried for many. Death. The journey here…rough.
Kealin patted the narwhal on its head. I know. After our parting at the battle, I wasn’t able to get back to you. I hope you have kept well. These waters are not of the normal seas we have been in before.
His boat floated over to him, and he boarded.
We must get to a ship just around the corner. Go toward the gate in the water.
This place . . . Dark . . . There is something underneath.
I know. Keep moving, my friend.
As they passed the area where the ship had been, he saw no sign of the ship. He pointed toward the gate.
“Something must have happened,” he said out loud.
Tulasiro pulled them with great haste straight out of the gateway, and Kealin looked to their right to see the horror unfolding ahead. The ship was again under direct attack. The creature had pulled it up out of the water, and he saw blasts of green fire and electricity going into the creature. He drew his blades.
I am coming for you, he said toward the creature ahead.
The voice he had heard in the temple spoke again. I am eternal. I am ethereal. I devour.
At once, the creature itself switched its position, holding the actual ship and lifting its own monstrous body out of the water. Near its bottom was a massive eye that was black with a glowing silver ring. The creature shrieked, and waves of energy pulsated from its eye in a wave of white, sending massive waves toward Tulasiro. The narwhal was untouched and continued swimming even though Kealin struggled to hold steady on his boat.
Make a pass, Tulasiro.
The narwhal towed him around the right side of the ship as he drew his blades in preparation. It was obvious that some on-board saw them coming, for before long, he heard Jesia’s voice.
He looked up at her as she held on to Brethor, who held on to a rope dangling from one of the masts. He turned his focus to the tentacles and made rapid and deep slashes, one after another, as they rushed down the side of the ship. Though he made multiple slashes it was no good as more tentacles grew in the severed one’s place.
“I am eternal. I am ethereal. You must all die.” The creature spoke so that all could hear.
Kealin lifted his hand up. “I have the ring of the archwizard. You must let us pass!”
“You may pass, but the ones who defiled my ocean cannot.”
Kealin’s weapons did nothing to the creature. But he had something new. He had Vrikralok. He drew the god-blade.
Tulasiro, take us by it again.
The narwhal pulled them around, pounding her tail, sending shocks of thrust underneath Kealin’s boat. The Rat Raft was still in limbo, and now he could see both Jesia and Veora casting spells at the flailing tentacles smacking the ship and knocking many of the captain’s crew overboard.
Tulasiro began firing blasts from her crown, striking the tentacles as they came toward her attempting to slow her pace. Kealin took the blade known as Vrikralok in hand and slashed the nearest tentacles. The ends he cut off burst into white flames and fell into the sea. The creature became enraged and released the Rat Raft.
It began to drift away as the creature came upon the water with its body. Tulasiro dove down, attempting to avoid the tentacles, and Kealin jumped upon the body of the beast, stabbing his blade deep into its tissue. He twisted, and with a ripping tug, he pulled the blade back out. Black blood bubbled forth, and the creature flailed, throwing him into the sea.
Tentacles swarmed his body, and he felt a blast of water strike his back, knocking him out of their reach. Tulasiro had left the boat and now circled around Kealin as the tentacles swarmed around him. She bit one and sent a blast of magic at another. Kealin then saw his actual boat; a tentacle had grabbed it. He grabbed hold of one of the tentacles, twisting his body up onto a meatier part of it. Hundreds of suctioning mouths attempted to grab hold of him, but he managed to run up far enough that with a leap, he drove his blade into the creature again. This time the tentacles grabbing him recoiled back and began to shake.
The Rat Raft was at the wrong angle to use its crossbows. Jesia sent several blasts of ice, striking the creature, but they seemed to do nothing.
The Leviathan began to roll. Kealin felt suddenly wrapped up in the creature’s grasp. He kept hold of his blade as he was plunged into the sea. He opened his eyes to see thousands of the tentacled creatures from before. They slapped at him, made hissing sounds, but did not dare approach their master without its call. The creature had taken this attack by Kealin personally, for now. He was ripped out of the water and held by multiple tentacles suspended above the ocean.
He stared down at the Leviathan’s form. He still held his blade, but there was a small tentacle trying to pull at it.
You betray me, ringbearer. I of the eternal sea of dread will destroy you. He could feel his arms stretching and his body aching. He looked down to see Tulasiro swimming away.
You have no friends. You have none that are pure. You will go to the one called Vankou.
This is one of the many exciting battles in the Half-Elf Chronicles! You can check out book 4 below!