myths

Sea of Blood 4

Edwards untied Alain from the bed. He went towards the door and opened it. He looked at his first-mate, Gracht, who had been waiting outside after knocking on the cabin door. On seeing Alain standing behind Edwards, he looked at Edwards quizzically.

“Mr. Gracht, I fear this is no reef that we have hit. Send word to the crew, to get ready for battle. “, said Edwards, giving no explanation about Alain’s presence.

Gracht showed a hint of surprise on his face. But being the loyal first-mate that he was, he did not question his Captain further. He turned and made his way to the deck.

“Alain, let’s go check up on our friend Jach shall we?”- said Edwards, turning towards Alain.

Alain nodded in agreement. They made their way towards Jach’s room. Edwards drew his flintlock as they approached the door. Edwards knocked on the door.

“Jach, are you in there?”

Edwards got no response. He knocked again.

A crew member ran up to Edwards and Alain.

“Sir, Mr. Gracht needs you on the deck.” He said with a sense of urgency.

“We will be there shortly. “, responded Edwards.

He quickly added –

“Have you seen Mr. Jach by any chance?”

“Yes, he is on deck with the rest of the crew.”

Edwards and Alain looked at each other and followed the crewman hastily to the deck. Sure enough, they spotted Jach. He was looking towards the sea. To Edwards, it looked as if Jach almost knew this was coming. His face showed no surprise or fear, unlike the other members of the crew. Jach noticed the captain and Alain walking towards him.

“Ah, captain, I was looking for you. Where were you? “

Removing his flintlock, Edwards aimed it Jach’s face.

“Stow it Jach. I am onto your game.”

Jach seemed surprised.

“Game, what game? Captain, I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

The crewmen grew alert to the situation. Gracht came up behind his captain.

“Captain, what are your orders?”

“Get two men to guard him, right now.”

Gracht motioned to two crewmen standing behind Jach. The moved up next to him, one on each side and held him by his arms.

The ship began quaking again. Edwards addressed his crew.

“Men, we have braved many perils together. It is another peril that we must face right now. In a few moments there are things that are going to attack us. People that dwell in the sea. They are going to be here for blood. I say let’s give it to them. Let us make these waters a sea of their blood. Draw weapons. “

Roused by the words of their captain, the crewmen drew their weapons. Rusted cutlasses, fish pikes, and flintlocks were their weapons of choice. They were all fishermen by profession, but every last one of them, had been tested in battle before. They were no strangers to battles.

Edwards aimed his flintlock at Jach again.

“Mr. Jach, Alain has told me everything about your kind.”

Jach’s face showed genuine surprise.

Edwards continued-

“Now tell me. What have your people got to do with me? Why am I a part of this equation?”

Jach continued looking surprised.

“I really do not understand this question Captain Edwards. What are you talking about?”

Edwards’ face developed a stern look.

“Do not play dumb with me. All your friends from underwater have plans. What are they? Alain told me there is a plan.”

Jach’s face turned pale.

“Alain told you.”

He looked at Alain.

“I get it now. You are with them. You were spying on me. Weren’t you?”

Alain smiled coldly.

“Yes, I was. Captain Edwards, let me kill him now. Before the others arrive.”

Edwards steadied his aim.

“Now Mr Jach, tell me the truth.”

Jach gulped.

“Captain, believe me. I do not know what he is talking about. I only wanted to get to Veluise Islands, which is why I decided to come along with you. In fact, I did not even know the directions. Alain gave them to me.”

It was now Edwards turn to look surprised. He turned around to see a shocked expression on Gracht’s face and long-knife coming out of his stomach. The knife belonged to Alain, whose face had a devilish grin on it, baring his sharp teeth.

Edwards aimed his flintlock at Alain.

“You were the traitor, not Jach. I will kill you now. “

Alain sniggered from behind the cover that Gracht’s lifeless body provided.

“That is an astute observation, Captain. But I fear it is a bit too late now. Kill them all. ”

At that moment, a dozen dark forms sprung onto the deck from the ocean. They had moved so fast, the crewmen had hardly noticed. The deck instantly broke into a battle. The Merfolk and crewmen went at each other with all they had got. Even though the crew outnumbered the sea-men by a huge margin, their larger numbers were easily kept at bay by the amazing speed and skill of the sea-men. It was an even battle.

Amidst the frenzy, Jach broke free of his captors and made his way to the edge of the deck. Alain followed in close pursuit. Alain managed to corner Jach.

“You can stop now Jach. We have you right where we want you. There is no escape”

Alain drew his knife and started walking slowly towards an unarmed Jach. Just after a couple of steps, Alain heard a loud bang, followed by an immense pain in his stomach. He looked down to see blood pouring out of a hole in his stomach. Clutching it, he turned around to see Edwards holding his flintlock, gunpowder smoke rising out of it.

“It would seem you have nowhere to escape, fish-man. “ – Edwards said with a grim look on his face.

Alain rested his knee on the floor, the wound sapping his strength by the second. Satisfied that Alain was of no more threat, Edwards jumped back into the fray.

The battle went on for a good twenty minutes. Bodies lay everywhere on the deck. The dead lay in a pool of blood, human blood as well as Merfolk blood. The Merfolk had been excellent fighters, managing to handle such a large number of people. But in the end, the sheer numbers had overwhelmed the Merfolk. Edwards himself had slain three out of the twelve assailants. Half of the crew of The Titania lay dead. Most of the ones alive had some or the other injury. Edwards ordered his crew to make a hasty turn around.

After the ship had turned, Edwards made his way back to the semi-conscious Alain. He had fallen down, with his back to the floor and had lost a lot of blood.  Edwards reckoned he did not have much time to live. But he couldn’t let him die without getting answers to his questions. He threw some water on Alain’s face and brought him back to full consciousness.

“Fish-man, I have a few questions for you and I am in no mood for long stories now. Make it quick.  I want to know everything. What have your people got to do with me? Speak fast. “

Alain coughed, spitting out blood. He spoke in a breathless voice.

“All you humans are so self-obsessed. You think everything in this world is related to you. It isn’t. The truth is that you were just being used to get us to this location. Jach is one of those human-loving scum. I was indeed spying on him. He had gained information that my people were up to something in the Veluise Islands. He holds vital information about his comrades too. We needed that. So, me and my twelve soldiers, my sworn brothers, decided to capture him and extract the information from him, once he made it here. I gave him the directions to this place. That night, I was truly making sure nothing goes wrong for my men. But you intervened and took away our element of surprise. You, human were only a vessel to accomplish our goals, and we will accomplish them. What you did today, will only delay the inevitable. Your race will perish.”

Alain coughed again, and spit more blood out and lay motionless on the floor. Edwards gave Alain’s body a disgusted look.

“Men, dump the bodies into the sea. We cannot have rotting corpses on our ship. May the souls of our brothers find peace. ”

The crewmen followed their captain’s orders. They said their last words for their friends while dumping their bodies into the sea and following that, they tossed the bodies of the Merfolk. Edwards watched as the bodies sunk into the sea. With Alain’s words still fresh in his mind, he knew he had a lot to talk about with Jach.

The bodies made their way slowly towards the bottom, lending more of their scarlet hue to the blue sea, with each passing moment. The sea soon turned red, sea of blood indeed. The bodies did not sink unnoticed. Hundreds of pairs of red, glowing eyes, peering from the dark marine depths, observed the bodies and the trail of blood left by the Titania.

(The End, for now)

Image courtesy : Rudhika

Sea of Blood 2

It was early morning now. The rising sun was floating above The Titania, bathing it in much needed warm rays of light. Edwards glanced towards the sun. The red ball of light reminded him of the red eyes he had seen in the water yesterday night. They had appeared right next to Mr. Toobak’s body, peering from inside the water. They had appeared only for a brief instant, before they disappeared into the watery depths along with Mr. Toobak’s body, sending chills down Edwards’ spine.

Word of Mr. Toobak’s sudden disappearance had spread fast among the crew, causing panic. The entire night had been spent in calming everyone down, and getting everyone back to their jobs. Edwards was tired already, but he knew the day was going to be a long one. He still needed to have a chat with Alain. After, the disappearance of Mr. Toobak’s body, Edwards had quickly dragged Alain to the Captain’s Cabin. He bound his hands and feet and tied a rag of cloth to his mouth. Leaving the man tied to the bed in that condition, Edwards had gone forth to inform the senior crew about the events. However, he had left Alain’s part out of the story, fearing that it would contribute to the panic. However, now that the morale of the crew had been stabilized, Edwards decided he needed to have a talk with Alain, a long talk. Edwards made his way to his cabin. He entered and locked the door behind him. He turned towards Alain who was still tied to the bed. Alain looked back at him with his red eyes, which in Edwards’ opinion, looked a lot more red now. He removed the rag of cloth. Alain coughed. The rag had dried his mouth, very visibly. Edwards poured some water into Alain’s mouth and sat in front of him, fixing his stern gaze upon the pale man.

“I need answers; now. Tell me what were you doing there at night? And more importantly, what happened to Mr. Toobak? “

Alain held Captain Edwards’ gaze.

“Well, Captain Edwards. Looks like I have got to tell a whole tale to you. Let me start at the beginning “

Edwards nodded.

‘Many thousands of years ago, there existed a prosperous Island kingdom- the kingdom of Veluise. King Veluise II ruled his lands with an iron-fist. Without an heir for almost thirty years, the king was overjoyed when his wife, Queen Melvina gave birth to a child. The king was happy that he was blessed with a boy, the heir to the great kingdom. They named him Mer.  However, the king’s joy was to be short-lived.  When the prince was fourteen, an unknown disease started spreading in the kingdom. The people affected would show certain symptoms- red eyes and pale skin. They would soon find it difficult to breathe and succumb to the disease. People noted that this disease spread through contact or any exchange of fluid, making it highly dangerous. Soon, an epidemic broke out and as the death toll went on the rise, the hands of fear gripped the kingdom all the more tighter. Fearing for his people, the King decided to take extreme measures. He decreed that any person found to be affected by this disease would be tossed into the sea, fated to drown. Almost a year later, Prince Mer while on a hunting trip, came into contact with an affected person. And inevitably, he too started showing symptoms of the disease. His eyes reddened and he began growing paler by the day. The prince was bound in chains and was kept confined to his room. Being a man of his word, and fearing for the royal family, the king decided that the prince should be thrown into the sea, just like all the other diseased people. The King’s orders were swiftly followed.  On a full moon night, the Royal Guard took the prince to the edge of kingdom that overlooked the great sea. The teenage prince was then thrown into the sea. The king himself saw the prince drown under the pale glow of the moon. He had sent his heir to a watery grave.

Or so he thought. ‘

Ouija

It was Friday evening. We had gathered at Simon’s house. His parents had gone out of town . Simon had wanted to try something new , and so we had gathered – Jane , Mark , Virginia and me. I knew what Simon had wanted to try. He had been pretty interested in it since a few days. As we waited in the dining room , he presented to us what he had wanted to try  , an Ouija Board.

Simon placed the board on the dining table. Everyone sat at the table , encircling the board. I hung back. I was really skeptical about these talking boards. I had never once heard of an Ouija board actually doing the trick. But , I still liked watching people making their frantic attempts to contact the spirits with their eyes full of hope and fear. This was exactly how the people sitting at the table were feeling . Simon moved the planchette along the board , along all the alphabets , numbers and even along the yes , no and goodbye markings. The lights were dimmed and everyone was speaking in whispers. Simon instructed everyone to hold each other’s hands. He left one of his hands free to operate the planchette. Simon had been pretty confident about his knowledge of operating the board. He started calling out to the spirit world-

“ Hear me , o those who stay in the realm of the dead.”

No movement of the planchette.

“We wish to speak with you. Give us a sign that you are present among us. “

No movement.

I found it amusing. There was no way any spirit would ever respond to something like this. But , Simon did not give up.

“Just give us a sign. Any movement on the board. “

No movement again.

“ Please, I really do believe in ghosts and spirits. I only want some proof. Please give me some sign. “

No movement, again.

Well, it was hopeless. After a while , even Simon began to feel so. He let go of the planchette and closed his eyes, dejected. The others at the table appeared a bit let down as well , but I suspect they were secretly pleased.

Everyone began to leave and started saying their goodbyes to Simon. I had known Simon for a while now and I did not like to see him dejected. I walked up to the table and moved the planchette from its position to the ‘goodbye’ marking.

Everyone gaped .

“ Hey Simon , I think it did work “ – they said.

Hands

It was a cool and calm night. I had just returned home from work. My wife smiled at me as I entered my small cottage. My five year old kid ran up to me and held on to my hands. The same hands that needed some rest now , after a full day of work. My son led me to the kitchen area and asked me to sit. The warm fire burning on the stove and the glow it emitted was a welcoming site.

My wife placed my dinner in front of me. A meal of meager proportions , that’s all I could afford right now. But at least it was warm. I live with my wife and kid in a small cottage. It isn’t much , but it is home. For now. But I believe it will soon change for the better. My hands will bring about the change. My wife sat in front of me and asked me about my day. Well, it was just like all my other days had been for the past 10 years. I would go to the location of the project and do my work. I was a sculptor , and in the words of my employer – a really good one. For the past ten years I had been working on this one project. One of the biggest and prettiest projects ever worked upon. Again , these were the words of my employer. I had never stepped out of my village other than to work , so I had pretty much no clue. In the 25 years I have lived , this has been the biggest work that has come my way. My employer paid decently. He was a good man.

I had finished my meal. My wife and son had gone to sleep. I decided to enjoy the beautiful moon before ending my day. The moon was glowing in it’s white splendor. It was full today. A complete moon. Just like the project I had been working on. The project was finally complete. My employer had been very pleased with the outcome. He called it a masterpiece that could never be copied. He had said that he would reward everyone who had helped the next day. Yes, my hands which I have always believed in , will change my fortune tomorrow. I decided to take one last look at the moon. It was so pretty , so pure , so white. Just like the finished project. My employer had already decided on a name for it.

The Taj Mahal.