[Editor's Note: catch up with Part I here]
by Michael "Swoop" Zajac
As we entered a small water filled grotto, a lone siren greeted us. She seemed almost too excited for guests; we quickly learned why. The dim lights that had been suspended by the ceiling began to drift downward, their tentacles glowing with a pale light. We were besieged, as jellyfish descended from all angles, entangling adventures as their toxin coursed through their bodies. I was one of the last few, looking desperately for an escape, only to find none. As the caves walls began to quiet as more joined the dead than the living, I knew that my time had come. I stop resisting and made peace, knowing that my destiny had brought me here for a purpose. The sea always remembers those who sully its waters with blood of the innocent, and it seemed she was finally taking her due vengeance upon me. The light slowly faded, and darkness enveloped my mind.
And yet, a voice echoed in the darkness, a familiar voice.
And yet, a voice echoed in the darkness, a familiar voice.
“While you have died at sea, adventurers, your time has not come. Join me as we travel to Glashtyn Port, a place where those who perish on the waves await judgement.”
Our bodies rose, as the Divine Harlot, always watchful over us on our quest, led us on a march of the drowned. The stomp of our feet was in time with the wail of the mournful dead, as we pushed through the fog to a small clearing around a campfire. Here things seemed to fade in and out, as lost souls settled down by the fire while others faded into the mists. Some remembered bits about themselves, but others suffered the curse of a faded memory, not even remembering their name. We had been finding trinkets in the various boxes we had recovered from sirens, lost mementos of their former loved ones before they were dragged to the depths to be brides for the Fallen King. Some of the lost souls recognized their possessions, and handed letters over to us to give to their loves.
It was there I found what I been running from for so long staring me in the face.
There, staring at me was the man I been accused of killing, imprisoned for a crime I did not commit. There was the man who had haunted my dreams, as I escaped the port where I awaited to hang and fled with the Riverhawks. The face that had spurred this life of adventuring, against my will. Yet as he looked upon me, there was no hatred in his heart, no fear. It was then the Divine Harlot exposed the truth of that fateful stormy night. The demon spirit Glashtyn, the same one who been dragging to-be brides for the Bronze King, came aboard my ship at night. Using his powers of transformation, he assumed my form, where he approached the first mate, throwing him overboard in the middle of a stormy night. The quartermaster saw from afar the deed, and promptly had me thrown into the brig.
I was at a loss for words. Why would this spirit torment me so? The Divine Harlot pondered, then asked if I was curious why the siren’s song had no effect on my state. I had no answer, so she continued. She told me that the Glashtyn had a son, one who would not age with time. That one day this son washed up on a beach, and was taken in by a bar wench, one with loving eyes and a lovely singing voice…
I knew her point before she made it, that the woman she spoke of was my mother, and this son of Glashtyn to be my father. All of those years wondering, and yet the truth tasted like a bitter wine. I knew then that my fate was intertwined with this place, and this king, and all the machinations involved. I knew then that we must find this Fallen King and confront him, to rescue Sayeh and return home to the realm of the living. We knew that the King rest in the tomb of the fallen kings, so after a night of restless sleep we set forth our plan to sneak into the tomb.
As the sun rose over the fog, we began our ruse. We crafted crowns of materials nearby and adopted false titles to gain access to the tomb of fallen kings. Vesper and Axel attempted to play the parts of King K and Shadow K, and combining my lack of knowledge of Blackwood and my comedic sense that all good things come in threes, I adopted the title of Light K, king of the Day Shift within Blackwood. The Gray Man waited by his ferry boat as told him our fanciful false titles, and with that farce we managed to board the vessel. We traveled across the river, and it was there the Divine Harlot had to leave us, blessing Axel, Tulli and I with her strength.
After gaining the favor of some unknown kings, we walked down towards the beach, at the tail end of a ritual. There the Siren Queen, the first love of the Bronze King, stood over the King’s body and with a cry burst open the other Krackniss egg that we assumed would be our ticket home. The Bonze King awoke and in a rage threw the Siren Queen and the Bronze Weapon that she had recovered into the sea. Vesper stripped with lightning speed and retrieved the blade from the water, while the rest of us fought the King and his bronze guardians. Across the way the sirens returned, and after we read the letters from their dearly beloved stuck in Glashtyn Port, they blessed the Bronze weapon to strike true against the Fallen King. With the strength of five men, Axel thrust the magic weapon into the King, stunning the king as we threw into the water. From his chest, the second baby Krackniss burst forth, subduing the Bronze King. With that, our voices joined in song, we were transported back to the realm of the living, Sayeh’s body lying on the beach.
As I looked over, I saw that the first mate who had been slain had also returned with us, and I greeted him with much joy. As Sayeh coughed up a gulp of water from her lungs and stood, I joined her to see if she was well. I looked into her eye and saw fear, and at that moment I felt a sharp blade pierce my back. I heard a scream as I fell. I was quickly raised, just in time to see the Demon Glashtyn doff the form of my first mate and disappear into the sea. Sayeh, armed with the knowledge given from the divine Harlot, gravely warned that if the spirit had joined the realm of the living, he would seek out another bride for the Bronze King to drown.
I knew that this would be my quest, to not let another life be taken by this demon. I knew that this time I would not run from my destiny, but embrace it. While this may be the tale of the day Swoop drowned, from this a new chapter would emerge, a new hero to rise from the tides. While this is the tale of the day Swoop died, this is the beginning of my chapter. For my name is Larenzu D’ Scudo, and this is my story.