Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Legends of Voraniss: Jagtor, Savior of Mirador (Part II)

[Editor's Note: click here to read Part I]

by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke

It should be said, as referenced within the tale of Otter, that storms possess power. They speak a primal language belonging to the old ones and the very land itself. The new sound that Jagtor could make out, belonged to a beast beyond his comprehension, a predator of the deep so old and strong that it had lost the will to communicate beyond a roar or a wail. All that was left was a hunger for destruction, and the Giant understood the creature’s will without words. He could feel it deep within his bones as every survival instinct he had hit him at once, urging him to leave the danger of the ocean.
                When the creature broke the surface of the water, Jagtor saw its tentacles first. It grabbed at the ships he had been unable to catch, tossing them with ease; smashing them into the rocky cliffs until their wooden bodies splintered and cracked from bow to stern. Briefly, he saw what looked like a beak hiding rows of serrated teeth when the creature turned nearer in the water. It filled him with horror to look upon a creature so ancient and terrible as this. Debris littered the coastline, but the abhorrent Kraken’s appetite had yet to diminish. It turned its sights on Mirador and the ships that Jagtor had rescued in the harbor.
                Jagtor was no warrior, and it would be a lie to say that he hadn’t strongly considered running for his life, but when he heard the screams of his neighbors and friends upon the shore behind him, something within him stirred. The artist became a warrior, for Mirador and her locals still had many stories to tell, and many sunrises to embrace. Jagtor rolled up his sleeves, took a deep breath, and turned towards the deeper water where the Kraken approached. Bards sing of this moment in many ballads, from wind tossing the Giant’s hair as he strode forward to contend with a leviathan even larger than himself, to an epic staredown between two titans battling over the fate of civilization. The truth was nowhere near as pleasant at this, for the battle was long and ugly.
                The Giant ripped through muscle and blood, holding the suckered limbs of the Kraken at bay. The beast continued to grab at him, trying to pull his head beneath the waves. Their wrestling match left Jagtor gasping for air as he choked on salty water and breath every time he managed to get his mouth and nose above the surface. His punches carried the strength of boulders, forcing the creature off of him in short bursts, but always would it return. It had more arms than he, and each of them a potent weapon that tried to clasp onto his skin and stretch him in ways his body didn’t want to go.
                Covered in ichor, water, and slime, Jagtor couldn’t hold onto the briny tentacles. He’d manage to capture one, straining all the muscles in his body to try and beat it into submission, but the darned things just managed to slither free, leaving him tired and forced to do it all over again. He knew he had to stay away from that beak, snapping at him and getting closer with every failed attempt to subdue the behemoth. His only chance was to get away long enough to find a weapon.
                The next time the creature came at him, Jagtor shoved it backward with all his strength and started to run. He squinted his eyes, raising his hand above his brow as he peered through the storm. There was so much wreckage and despair about him, but he couldn’t let himself be distracted. He had to find something to change the course of this battle before it was too late. Breathless with fatigue he willed himself to go faster, for the thrashing Kraken was right behind him.
Suddenly, a blinding light caught his attention and he made haste towards it. It was the lighthouse!  Still a beacon in the darkness of the storm’s devastation he had forgotten all about it until the light had crossed his eyes. Jagtor grit his teeth and planted one enormous foot against the rocky coast while his hands grasped the bottom of the lighthouse. With a mighty heave, he tore the tower from its foundation, loose stones tumbling free down into the water. He spun the building around his head like a child’s toy, turning to slam his newfound club into the head of the beast.
The tides had turned, and Jagtor smashed the Kraken as hard as he could. Blow, after mighty blow, the creature sustained at the onslaught of the Giant, and it shrieked and writhed in agony. They fought until the dawn when both their titan frames could hardly move. The Kraken whipped one last tentacle for Jagtor’s ankle, and the Giant felt his legs pulled from under him.  His back hit the water with a loud splash, creating a wave of its own. Down into the depths, the two did sink, never to be seen again.
When the people did behold that Jagtor had saved them from the wrath of that beast, they proclaimed him the savior of Mirador and adopted the likeness of the monster for their banner so that they might tell Jagtor’s story for a thousand ages. That night, they poured out drinks for their fallen hero, whispering their prayers and thanks over spirits and ale. They lamented he would never see the world the way he wanted, giving his all for their home. A hero deserved better than death they agreed.
                Their prayers and mourning would not go unheeded for long, for the spirits always bear witness to truly heroic acts. We know not whether they are always watching, or are simply drawn to greatness, but they know when they are needed. With their magic, Jagtor’s spirit was transformed into the form of a salmon, so that he might swim hither and thither as freely as he pleased; his courage rewarded with new life and freedom.
The broken husk of the lighthouse still stands upon the shores of Mirador, a testament to a Giant’s strength, and a monument to one of the greatest guardians to ever live. Local maps simply call it “Jagtor’s Spear.” The telling of this legend continued into the times when humans began to settle in Voraniss, and Jagtor the Salmon became a favorite of sailors and travelers who believed his wandering spirit would protect and guide them on all of their journeys.