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Monday, October 26

Red Skies: Part 9 – The Islands of the Damned

Kham plunged into the water. He struggled for breath, trying to think of a way out of his predicament. He always managed to find one.

And yet, he had been tripped up again. Acts of derring-do that came so easily to him had suddenly become more difficult. He felt clumsy and slow. Perhaps Sebastian was right…maybe he had relied on the King in Yellow far more than he realized.

Then Kham remembered the box. It turned itself into a boat! He uttered the command word as he plummeted down, down, down…

And once again he experienced the world from Zoltan’s point of view, plummeting for days.

One moment they had been closing with the Freeport fleet, inflicting punishing losses on them, and the next…well, it was hard to say. A storm struck, and then a wave big enough to drown the entire world crashed into them.

When the four undead pirates regained their senses, they were clinging to the wreckage of their respective ships, floating through a chain of small islands.

Daen pleaded for Leviathan’s intercession. “Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!”

A charming young man with a roguish smile and icy eyes appeared in their minds eyes instead.

“Cadic!” wailed Moab.

“So dogs,” roared the towering apparition, “what capital mischief ye been making! But now, I’m calling an end to yer gamboling. I leave ye here, on these Islands of the Damned, to live out the dogs’ lives ye have chosen for yourselves, forever removed from the company of Freeport’s mortals—and their blood, which ye crave, and their trinkets, for which ye kill them.

Daen renewed his chant for Leviathan, but Cadic’s laughter nearly split their eardrums. “As for the whelp ye worship, he may be crafty, but he ain’t as clever as he claims. And now he’ll pay.”

With that, Cadic revealed Leviathan, hanging thirty feet above the water, surrounded by a whirling globe of chains. He still bore his avatar form, and the artifacts (minus the sextant) that focused his power circled around him.

“It’s come to this,” said Cadic. “One last chance I give ye; renounce yer ways and swear fealty to me.”

“You will die at my hands!” came Leviathan’s response.

Cadic gave out a great sigh. Then he ripped Leviathan to pieces.

There was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, and a stench as of a thousand opened graves. For an instant an acrid and blinding green cloud befouled the four pirates. Then bloody chunks of their master plummeted into the ocean, sending up great gusts of steam as they struck. But Cadic wasn’t done.

“So much fer yer flesh, whelp,” he spat. “Yer spirit I condemn to the Abyss.”

With that, he hurled the divine energy of Leviathan towards the island of R’lyeh where they had first met the squaminous being; it struck with the force of a meteor, plowing a mile-long furrow into the sod. The force propelled the artifacts from his body sending each flying toward a nearby island.

“And so ye won’t get lonesome,” jeered Cadic, “here’s the trinkets ye craved so greedily.” The god opened his palm, and thousands of pounds of gold and jewels and other valuables rained from the sky, burying what was left of Leviathan. Then Cadic blew across the face of the water, and the island vanished with a whisper of wind.

The pirates cringed, waiting for Cadic’s next attack, but the god had departed, leaving them to their fate. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:42 AM


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