The Kraken's Crackin'
rating: +9+x

“A Kraken's not a Kraken, 'till ships it be crackin.'”

“What was that, Captain?” The man next to him asked.

“I said A Kraken’s not a Kraken, ‘till ships it be crackin.’

“Ah…” He said. “Seemed a random time to say our motto.”

“I be Captain of the Kraken’s Crackin!” The Captain said. “Those are our words! I’ll scream them to the fish if I wish!”

The man next to him, First Mate Jakk, was right of course, it was a random time. Just how Captain Crack liked it. While the land was a pillar of hard order, the sea was a bath of chaos. Atuin Island was a pillar, one of stone and steel standing in the blue. An island made by man’s hands. They seek to control the Kraken’s Chaos. But their gods are far away.

As the Captain and his men walked on a surface of metal down the streets of Atuin, they passed a shrine to the Whale’s Peace. In the center was a burning lamp, fed by the oil of the fat beasts of the deep. Around it its patrons, mostly cargo captains.

Captain Crack spit in it’s direction as he passed. This city-on-the-waves stinks of orderly weaklings.

DAGGERS!” A salesman yelled. “DAGGERS OF STEEL FOR THE FIGHTING FOLK! DAGGERS OF GOLD FOR THE FLASHY FOLK!

He saw the Captain and his retinue pass.

“REAVERS LIKE YOU OUGHT TO HAVE SOMETHING FLASHY AND SHARP!”

The Captain kept his face forward. When his First Mate turned his head the Captain corrected it with a whack.

“Ah!”

“Mind yer eyes Jakk!”

“Ay? It looked nice.”

“Tis a blade, not an eastern girl. Not that you’d tell em’ part. What do we buy, Jakk?”

Jakk looked ahead. “Food, rum, and women.”

IF…” Captain Crack gestured his First Mate to continue.

“…if we haven’t taken enough from reaving.”

“And yer lucky I even let ya buy nothin!” Captain Crack said, “Can’t take enough to feed ourselves, might as well deserve to starve.”

“Till we toss you overboard.”

“Ya wanna take me?” The Captain asked. “Draw yer bloody weapon! Take my life with yer own hands!”

“Nah, I’ll die with a blade in my heart one day. Not this day.”

“Aye, yah might. Makin’ tha Kraken rise? Nah, that’s mah destiny. Now move ya butt! Atuan makes mah feet soft.”

“Atuan?” Jakk asked.

“However ya bloody well pronounce it!”

“Atuin?” Jakk said, half correctional, half uncertain.

Actually…

Captain Crack gritted his teeth, knowing who the voice was. The skinny land boy squeezed through the guards to the two up front.

“…the correct pronunciation is technically A-Tuin. After a turtle from Straten mythology which held the world on it’s back. Gods, the natives are so underrated.”

Jakk whacked him in the head. “You’re our translator Kristopher! The only thing about natives I wish to hear is where their gold is.”

“Aye,” Captain Crack agreed. “Ya know where to find some boy?”

“Well, no,” Kristopher stuttered, his sunburnt skin crusting as he moved. “I mean, it varies between tribes. And even if they did the Empires would’ve taken it by now anyway. The more I think about it who’s the real pir-”

Jakk gave him another whack in the head. “Hear that? The Empires steal too, guess we’re all pirates.”

Kristopher rubbed his head. “I won’t be telling you where they keep their women next time.”

“No worries,” Jakk said. “You’ll be enough.”

The Captain laughed at that.

As they neared the docks Captain Crack began to feel whole again. The salty air, the sounds of waves, seagulls waiting to pluck a landlover’s lunch. He arrived at the row of wood and steel platforms that stretched off Atuin. These few were special, reserved. As indicated by the sign on the first of them:

PIRATE LORD 1

Numbers and reservations. Not the way Captain Crack liked it, but the way the Pirate Lords did it, and of course the way he had to. Less he want to test this one’s wrath.

Pirate Lord One. As far as any knew he had no other name. Even in councils he only appeared behind his black mask, featureless except for the two eyeholes and painted designs. He never spoke, only banging his gavel when the council became too disorderly or when he made his judgements. It was when he stared at you, even after you finished talking, that you had every right to soil yourself. He was the only man Captain Crack had ever found himself wary of. I need not worry, the incident was cleared.

His ship, known only as One, sat in it’s dock. Seven-hundred feet of steel and rivets, some say a former Imperial Flagship. Whatever it was, it was now the One. Finely painted images adorned it’s hull, intricate images of the Pirate Lord’s victories at sea, his conquests, his power.

All kept silent as they passed the ship to the second dock.

PIRATE LORD 2

Lord Xuyu. A woman from the eastern lands. Sailors would spread rumors of the bloodmagic she did behind her hull. The Captain knew they were just rumors. What weren’t rumors was what she did to the men who tried to take her. Didn’t stop Captain Crack from trying once. One try taught him one lesson.

Her ship, the Dragon, was four-hundred and fifty feet of wood. Two sails, folded now as it was in dock, would be let out in the shape of dragon’s wings to ride the waves. It’s prow was a carved dragon’s head which spewed sticky fire for those times when plunder wasn’t enough. When a Captain needed something more to satisfy themself.

The Kraken’s waves extinguish the hottest flames. Captain Crack thought as they passed to the next dock.

PIRATE LORD 3

Lord Raisenhammer, a defected Imperial Captain. Now in his 70s, with a white beard to match. Wise as far as pirate lords went, and always seen with his prized rifle. Except of course at Councils, where weapons were prohibited at the One’s insistence.

The Dread Not sat in the dock covered in barnacles and red stains claimed to be blood. Everyone knew it was rust. A Captain’s ship is his Kingdom, his Kingdom is bound to drown. Captain Crack expected no less from a born landlover.

PIRATE LORD 4

Lord Salthook, though he liked to be called Trauma Salthook. Captain Crack despised the abomination of moving metal and joints that called itself a Pirate Lord, yet he sat on the council all the same. None know where exactly he came from, nor why he reaves when he has no need of sustenance. None asked, it was known too many questions made him… twitchy.

His ship had no name, being a hollow, three-hundred foot stolen ship from the Imperial Scrapyards.

The sooner it leaves my sight, the better.

PIRATE LORD 5

Lord de-Vri, another Landloving former Imperial. Only taking Imperial treasure ships, then dividing his profits among the poor of places like Atuin Island. Not a traditional Pirate, but harassed enough Imperials to gain his seat on the Council.

His ship, the Ghost, was a very old design, built of clinky wood.

Lucky the Imperials haven’t yet washed him off the waves. Lucky the waves themselves haven’t taken him.

PIRATE LORD 6

Chief Death, what a stupid name. His story was well known. A former native chieftain from some unimportant island in the western seas. One which even before taking to piracy was built from raiding and taking from the surrounding island tribes. It was when the imperials showed up that they met their match. Those who weren’t taken to the sugar plantations escaped with their chief, and now Chief Death was one of the sea’s seven Pirate Lords. He was also the one to do the dirty work when The One went quiet.

Vevloya, the native name he had dubbed his ship. Four-hundred feet long and painted black, its sides inscribed with symbols Captain Crack did not care to understand. Though it was a steam-driven ship, it still retained it’s old masts. At its front and back were two large cannons, or turrets as the fancy folk called them. They weren’t the main weapons, tales of the Chief’s martyrs were well known to everyone.

What caught Captain Crack off guard was the figure standing at its bow. Chief Death himself, his head shaved, his face tattooed to resemble a skull, something the Captain found more cheesy than intimidating. His two dark eyes looked down at them as they passed. He lifted his arms above his head, the fingers on one hand forming hte letter “V”, while sending his straightened hand through the gap. The Captain heard Kristopher gasp behind him. Landlover is scared of some native hocus. He seemed almost as scared as when he was translating the Chief’s words at the council. It made no matter, they arrived where they needed to be.

PIRATE LORD 7

The Kraken’s Crackin sat in a large dock. Five-hundred feet of steel and rivets. An inverted ramming bow for when he wanted those old wooden schooners to give that perfect CRACK. And it’s beautiful four cannons, two on the sides, and two at the bow and stern. All contributed to the perfect Kraken.

As he stepped onto its decks once more, his Second Mate came to greet him.

“Aye, Captain! Council well?” Second Mate Blayde asked.

“Aye, Lord One was steamed from that incident in Lajra. But mah lucky bones have the best translator this side of the sea,” Captain Crack said as he grabbed Kristopher’s head.

“Thanks?”

“Not the best party talker though,” he said, shoving him away. “Now get movin! I’d sooner like to be off this rotting-rust-platform they call an island!”

There were three things that made Captain Crack the happiest reaver on the seas: rum, women, and leaning on the bridge terrace, wind in his face, as they cast out to sea. It was also a good vantage point to the decks. From here he could see if any of his crew were slacking, or even fighting. Sometimes he broke it up, sometimes he just watched. As Atuin faded behind him, one question yet remained. Next move?

The next Pirate Lord’s Council was three months away. He could make for an imperial shipping lane, or head west to find some islands ripe for plunder, maybe keep going forward and see where the sea takes him. Yes.

He turned and walked back into the bridge. Second Mate Blayde had the wheel, while First Mate Jakk looked at a map on the desk. The Captain stepped up beside him. On the desk was some hardtack, he broke off a piece and grabbed a strip of salted beef, tossing them in his mouth and drowning the salt with rum.

“Take us north, tis the season for chaos in the sea.”

“Aye, Captain,” Jakk said. He turned and went to the terrace. Since the compass had broken months ago they had to go by the sun’s position in the sky.

They had left Atuin with half a day to spare. Short as far as councils go, decisive too.

“Ya know Blayde…” The Captain said, catching his Second Mate’s attention. “I bloody hate that council.”

“It’s not the way of the Kraken is it, Captain?”

“Ay, could say that… But I tell ya this, as a braver of the Kraken’s chaos, as a reaver, as a Captain, and as a man o’ the sea. This ain’t the way. I sailed under Joyn the Basher in days long past. Days where the pirate’s life meant the Kraken’s Chaos! And only ye’ knew how to swim in it!”

“Swim it?” Blayde asked.

“Look ta the sea! All ye could want! Sailing between pillars of order, sailing in the chaos. Ye just needa know how to swim it and grab it! The way the Kraken meant it to be.”

“We still do that, Captain,” Blayde said. “We know howda’ take what we want.”

“It ain’t what it used to be,” The Captain responded. “I promised meself when I was a young lad I’d never grow up to say those words, yet here me be grown up and sayin em. It ain’t what it used to be. We take what we want, aye, but we have a council to answer to. Six more o’ them reavers, to share ye Kraken’s sea with.”

“They don’t know the way.”

“Tis no way, Blayde. The Kraken’s sea be without direction, ye who try ta find their way end lost in the waves. Should Lord One up and bite tha bullet there’d be a battle o’ the pirates not seen since ta Siege of Atuan!”

“Get rid o’ the One Then!” Blayde said. “We ain’t need im’. And we’ll tan the rest till we’re the Kraken’s Kings o’ the sea-”

“NO!” Captain Crack interjected. “Listen boy, I’ve reaved from one side o’ the sea to the next! I killed Native Chiefs, Imperial Captains, the best the landlovers got to offer! I did all without a second thought and kept right o’ goin! Lord One, that o’ black-masked spectre, he be the only one ta make me stop! I ain’t never felt fear boy, till he looked at me with those two black eyes o’ his!”

Blayde only glanced down. “Oh… huh…”

“I ain’t one for lessons Blayde, but let meh tell ya, don’t strike at a man who can stop ye feet with his eyes!”

“And if he com’ for us?”

Captain Crack slammed his fist on one of the drawers in the desk. “I got me last resort. One I can trust. The only thing I trust. I’ll die with a blade in mah heart. And so be all who presume to get the best o’ me.”

“Captain!” Two of his men entered with a skinny sun-baked man between them. “Caught tryin ta steal a boat, Captain.”

A stream of blood came from Kristopher’s nostrils. Captain Crack stepped forward until he was almost against the translator. “Tryin ta escape eh?”

“He’s… he’s coming! I gotta leave!”

“CAPTAIN!” Jakk’s voice came from the terrace.

Captain Crack joined him there, and saw it. Storm clouds, coming from the north. A big one.

“Gather mah crew fo’ an offerin!” He told his First Mate, then walked back into the bridge. To his Second Mate he ordered: “Keep us clear o’ the storm while ya can!” Then turned to the translator being held between the sailors. “Tie em’ and bring em’ to the deck! Since he wanna leave!”

It was done as asked. A half-hour later most of the crew had gathered on deck, apart from Second Mate Blayde, one still had to steer the ship after all. First Mate Jakk stood next to his Captain, while Kristopher was held in ropes and weights near them. An aisle had been created between the crowd, leading to a portion of deck from which the railing had been removed. The ceremony could begin.

Two of the crew rolled a barrel towards the edge, rotating it so one end hung off above the sea. Captain Crack stepped forward, and pulled the plug. The appetizing brown rum poured into the water below.

O’ Great Chaotic Kraken! As yee see fit to unleash yer’ storms! To further wreak yer’ havoc on the disorder of thy seas! Ta remind us small folk of yer’ dominion and ya’ chaos! Ta remind us that no such order may be! We give O’ Great Chaotic Kraken an offerin-a-rum! May it soothe ye to the slightest as we brave yer’ discord!

MAY WE BRAVE YER’ DISCORD AND BE TRIUMPHANT!” The crew said in unison.

By now the rum had emptied, and the Captain kicked the empty barrel into the sea. Now the next portion began. Captain Crack had given Jakk the task of going below with the poison and picking the right woman. A good pick, that one. An Imperial woman from one of the ships they had reaved on its way to the colonies. They brought her lifeless up the stairs on a bed of seaweed. Put on her was one of the silk dresses they had found on a merchant ship, one that went well with her pale skin. In her auburn hair was a wreath of blue flowers.

O’ Great Chaotic Kraken! As ya’ soothe yerself with the rum we have given, may you accept this beauty as one of yer’ many wives o’ the deep!

They sat her on the deck and tied her corpse down. Attaching weights, they again picked her up, and let her slide overboard. Her face faded as she drifted into the dark arms of the Kraken.

We ask not that ya’ spare us miserable souls from yer’ chaotic seas! We only give ya’ these gifts in these tryin’ times and ask that ya’ give us back what ya’ feel we deserve!

Captain Crack gestured to have Kristopher brought forward. The metal balls dragged behind him as he began breathing heavily through his gag.

“And at last, we give ya’ one for judgement! One who presumed ta’ leave us in one piece! With these here gifts we only ask that ya’ rise from tha’ depths when all hope is lost, when we-”

RING-DING-RING-DING-RING-DING.

The Captain turned to the direction of the bell. “WHO DARES INTERRUPT THE KRAKEN’S RITUAL!”

Second Mate Blayde took his hand off the bell, and yelled something down. The message was quickly relayed through several men, and Captain Crack understood it before it reached him.

“PORT-STERN-SHIP-APPROACHING!”

Captain Crack looked towards the stern, and leaned out. A black ship, billowing smoke from its funnel yet still retained it’s masts.

Ripping the gag from his translator’s mouth he shouted: “His hands Kristopher! What did Chief Death do with his hands at ye’ dock!”

Kristopher stuttered for a moment, the Captain responded by striking him across the face. The translator gave a small chuckle, “Vevloya means Butcher, heh-heh.”

The Captain’s fist hit his face with an audible crack, knocking him to the ground.

“HIS HANDS KRISTOPHER!”

“Lord One… he… the Council… I didn’t translate… we’re gonna die!” Kristopher said as he began sobbing on the deck.

Captain Crack again leaned out to see the ship. It was now turning. Vaguely he could see motorized boats being prepared. With it the dark storm clouds were creeping in.

BATTLE STATIONS!” He bellowed for his crew to hear. With that he sprinted back into the ship as fast as his aged legs could, up the stairs, to the bridge. Second Mate Blayde wiped the sweat from his face and held the wheel steady.

On the terrace Captain Crack looked down. First Mate Jakk stood in the middle of the deck, managing the crew as they rushed to man the turrets and deliver ammunition.

“Blayde! Turn Port!”

“The storm?”

“TURN PORT!”

Second Mate Blayde threw the wheel left until it was hard over. The Kraken’s Crackin’ slowly turned into wind and rain. The black ship again came into view, much closer, two boats were now being lowered to the water. “SNIPERS!” He shouted down to the deck, praying to the Kraken that Jakk could hear him.

How did this happen!? The Captain thought. Translation? Chief Death had spoken in his tribal language throughout the council, he always did that, it was one of the reasons they accepted Kristopher. But this time… he saw Lord One nod, but Kristopher had translated it all. He always did. But this time…

Kristopher!

“Betrayin, lyin, little-” Captain Crack screamed furiously kicking his leg against the railing until one of his toes hit the metal directly. The Captain howled in pain pulling his leg up. At that moment the ship rocked to the side. As he fell over the railing, Captain Crack caught a glimpse of his Second Mate, running to him from the helm in vain. Against the wall he got one last look at the desk and drawers. I need to die with a blade in my heart!


CRACK. Captain Crack hit the deck as the wall of water spilled over. First Mate Jakk held on as the ship recovered from the sudden wave. When he turned back, the Captain's body was gone.

Twenty years, fifty storms, five-hundred ships… Jakk regained himself and took a valuable moment. A pirate has no time to grieve. He shouted up.

“CAPTAIN DOWN! UP-RANK! FIRST TO CAPTAIN!”

Blayde’s voice responded from the bridge, “AYE! UP-RANK! SECOND TO FIRST!”

“AYE!” Jakk shouted back. Looking around, he saw men recovering from the wave. “MAN YOUR STATIONS!” He yelled to them.

“MARTYRS INCOMING!” First Mate Blayde shouted from the bridge.

“WHERE ARE THOSE SNIPERS!?” Captain Jakk shouted to none in particular. Then he began to hear the chants.

”Vata-Hoon! Vata-Juun! Vata-Hoon! Vata-Juun!…”

The rain was now pouring. Yet in the distance Jakk could still make out the motorboats of martyrs. From each boat two men jumped out, and began swimming towards the ship. Swimmers? He unsheathed his curved sword. I’ll die with a blade in my chest then. Looking to the port railing, Jakk saw Kristopher, somehow still clinging to life in his ropes. Sprinting over to him, he picked him up by the collar of his shirt.

“What are they chanting!?”

Kristopher was trembling and soaked, but regained himself enough to listen to another round of chants.

”Vata-Hoon! Vata-Juun!”

“It’s, uh… ‘Hail Death… Hail the Moon’…”

”A’Hoon-za-Vevloya! A’Hoon-za-Vevloya!”

“‘For Death come the butchers…’”

”O-a’Hoon-za-VATRA!”

“‘For Death come the Martyrs!’”

The motorboat turned into the Kraken’s Crackin. Jakk threw the translator down and held up his sword just as an explosion rocked the hull. Captain Jakk was knocked to the ground. For a moment his mind was wiped clean, until a single line entered his head: A Kraken’s not a Kraken, ‘till ships be crackin…

The next explosion Jakk didn’t hear over the ringing in his ears, but it did fill his eyes with light, and when that faded, spots. Blind and deaf he pulled himself up. He yelled something, possibly along the lines of “CANNONS-FIRE!” or maybe a cry of pain, he wasn’t sure. His sword was gone, knocked elsewhere. Explosion… damage… get… to… bridge… he walked aft, what he thought was aft, and found a doorway. Scroll… rise… knife… heart… Someone bumped into him, who it was he wasn’t sure. Though the spots were beginning to fade, he still pressed forward, a mix of loud ringing and faint shouting filled his ears.

I was First Mate for ten years… I was First Mate for ten years…

Going by memory, he felt what appeared to be a handrail, confirmed as another bumped into him and sent him tumbling down the metal stairs. Whether he cried out or not he couldn’t say.

I was to be Captain for ten years… I prepared to be Captain… I am Captain… I have to touch the wheel… before the knife… I have to touch the wheel before…

The ship was rocked again, sending him further into whatever corridor this was. He now felt flowing water, and someone stepped on his leg as they ran by. Eventually his hands found railing and pulled his body up. Time and direction became chaotic as he made his way through the ship. His eyes and ears were slowly clearing. Too slow as the water was now up to his knees.

I was supposed to be a Pirate Lord… I was supposed to be better… I have to touch the wheel… once… before…

He thought he was in a room, and stepped to where the water became lower, but at the edge he found only wall. Feeling up and down, left and right, there was no door to be found. The water’s trapped me! He realized. Knowing the doorway was probably underwater, he dove in hoping to find the way out. As he began to run out of air, he tried to find his way back to the shallow end, but it too had disappeared.

Door! Where’s the door! He swam around putting his hands on everything. Bridge! I have to get to the bridge! His vision had now cleared so he could see vague shapes, as much good it did him. I need to make the Kraken rise! As his body began crying out for air he heard his heartbeat over the fading ringing. I have to touch the wheel! I have to die with a blade in my heart! I have to make the Kraken rise! Fear was spreading from his chest, to his searching arms and kicking legs. When it reached his head he took in a deep gasp of salty water.

When it took hold he prayed to the Kraken, to the Whale, to the Moon, to Blayde, to any listening as the sea took him.


Lightning struck, revealing the silhouette of Chief Death’s ship as it approached. First Mate Blayde let go of the wheel and ran to the terrace. Looking down, the water was beginning to lap on the bow. It’s over. The Kraken’s Crackin was doomed. Captain Jakk was nowhere to be found, and so Blayde took the announcement upon himself.

“ALL MEN FOR HIMSELF! ‘BANDON SHIP!” He shouted from the terrace. The crew below already had a head start. The turrets had been abandoned, sailors struggled to move the lifeboats into position, as the ship Vevloya moved closer. Blayde considered his options. Then looked to the desk with the drawer

The last resort?

The box he pulled out was old. With it in hand he went back to the terrace. Vevloya was pulling up next to the Kraken’s Crackin as the ship dove further into the water and began to list to starboard. On the deck of the black ship, Blayde saw him.

Chief Death looked up to him, staring with an odd fascination. He lifted his fist towards the bridge, then bent it back and thrust forward. All at once Vevloya’s starboard turrets began to turn.

Quickly, Blayde opened the box and from it took a scroll and dagger. On one side of the scroll was an illustration, now being ruined by the pouring rain, of a man with a knife in his chest, a scroll held to his face, below him a Kraken wrapped its tentacles around both him and another man. On the other side of the paper, writing. Old, but still legible enough. Blayde looked to the turning turrets. I’m gone either way. This is for you, Captain.

”Kraken-Teuthus-Colossi-Euron-Architeuthidae, thy many names of thy one! In thy time of death I give thyself unto you! I begeth thee to rise from thy depths and taketh mine and my enemy! I GIVE THYSELF UNTO YOU!” He drove the rusty knife between his ribs, and through the pain completed the scroll. “…FOR A KRAKEN IS NO KRAKEN UNTIL SHIPS IT BE CRACKING!”

The turrets all stopped, pointed directly at the bridge. Chief Death’s cold stare met Blayde’s watery eyes as they fired.


BOOM.

The bridge tower was blown away by the turrets. The Kraken’s Crackin listed further to starboard as Kristopher moved himself forward. The ropes around his arms plus the forty pounds of weights attached to his legs made it almost impossible to move. How did it come to this?

The plan started at the Council. Chief Death announced in his native tongue his challenge and Lord One’s approval. Did it go wrong when he told Captain Crack that the situation was cleared? Did it go wrong when he was too frightened to take his best chance of running on Atuin? Did it go wrong when he saw the Chief show his tribal symbol of challenge on the docks?

It went wrong because I was weak and scared! Because he thought he could sent a Pirate Lord to his death and get away before it came. But he was too weak and too scared.

He had accepted the assignment because he wanted to see the world. To return to the University with a book’s worth of knowledge on pirate life and gain enough credibility to… What was I doing it for? You know what it was, Kristopher. You just wanted to not answer to anyone for once. Not have an exam to pass, not have a professor to listen to. You wanted raiding, rum, women, to get up midday. You needed something new. You absolute colossal idiot.

He simply curled up and sobbed. The ship creaked as firemen emerged onto the deck. The boiler room is flooding! The final plunge will start any minute! He thought about crawling to a lifeboat, but Chief Death’s snipers were taking out anyone trying to approach a boat. Whether for sport or insanity, Kristopher didn’t know. We don't deserve boats.

The bow was now slipping under. This is it. The ship was giving off loud creaks as the terrified, desperate, screams of bloodthirsty pirates and the captured women now escaping onto the deck mixed in. Kristopher closed his eyes. The rain came down on him as he lay tied and weighted on the deck.

SCREEEeeeEEEeeeEEEeeeEEE.

The ear-piercing scream sent a wave of adrenaline into Kristopher’s body. He turned to the Vevloya in time to a shape rising from the water, a gigantic shape. Then another, and another. All rose into the rain and clouds, curled like cobras, some taller than even the Vevloya itself. The crew on the dark ship scattered. Snipers turned their fire to the tentacles rising from the water. Again it rang out.

SCREEEeeeEEEeeeEEEeeeEEE.

Lighting cracked down from the sky as one of the arms wrapped around a turret, pulling it out, trunk and all. Other tentacles wrapped around the hull while more grabbed hold of its crew, pulling them under or throwing them through the air. The crew of the Kraken’s Crackin had settled in awe, some walking up the sinking decks to kneel near the railing.

It was the most magnificent sight anyone on the ships had ever seen, and Kristopher would’ve given it up in that moment to be sitting in a lecture hall. The Kraken’s Crackin had entered its final plunge. The deck tilted until Kristopher began sliding. On the Vevloya Kristopher could see Chief Death standing on the deck, staring at the godly tentacles of the Cephalopod. Then he saw the Pirate Lord turn and run as one of the tentacles grabbed the Chief, pulling the flailing man into the waves.

At that moment Kristopher too slid into the water and off the deck. The weights pulled at his legs as his helpless arms struggled behind him. The surface moved away and he looked ahead to the collosal shape moving in the water. The tentacle moved the squirming Chief to the middle of its body where his distorted screams were silenced with a CRACK.

Then it finally caught the light, an eye bigger than any man, the eye of a Kraken. In it he saw the eyes of Captain Crack, Jakk, Blayde, the five-hundred crew he had counted on the Kraken’s Crackin. The eye of chaos watched coldly as Kristopher descended into the cold, pitch, darkness of the sea. Fear was spreading from his chest.

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