the shores

/ By Coal [+Watch]

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[center [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R415WZruPdE ♫]]

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/1vW1IZc.jpg]]

[size20 [center [b Words are laid not upon the desolate shores of this distant, forlorn land.]]]

[center [i Wild, murky water batters the hull of a lonely ship. The only light piercing the veil of darkness around you is the lantern dangling from the ship's prow, and it wanes closer to dying out every time you lay eyes upon it. Its light is rarely joined by flashes of lightning in the distance, behind you.

You are stricken by the hopelessness of it all. This was to be an expedition to the rich lands of the East. You left your home behind, your family and friends, for a chance at a new life, a new future for reasons of your own, but the current carried you and your fellow travellers away.

On the morning of the sixteenth day you found yourself in thick banks of dark mist, lost and wayward, your chances of making it home as fleeting as the winds, few and far between, which stir the slithering tendrils of fog around you in only the slightest sense of the word. You cannot help but ponder the nature of the ills that has befallen this journey; Perhaps someone aboard is cursed?

When winds at last came from behind and caught the sails, everyone rejoiced. The ship cut like a spear through the waves, and things seemed to be going well.

That evening, night fell and the darkness did not let up. The captain has been keeping track, and the sun has been gone for three days, now. Whenever the old, haggard seaman tries to change the course of the journey, he finds the rudder is jammed in place.

You are bound to a destination you do not know, and supplies are running low. You cannot even be sure if you are moving, at all.

The waves are occasionally broken by great fins and tentacles, and you are left to despair as, unexpectedly, the water surges upward at the starboard side of the ship. Waves thrash and you find yourself - and the ship - facing a great, darkened pillar, reaching skyward, looming ominously overhead.]]

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/z7EEvI3.jpg]]

[center [i A brief crack of thunder sounds, like the whip of the gods, and its flash briefly illuminates the serpent as it bounds towards the waves, towards the vessel.

Before you know it, the beating of the waves is replaced by the groaning and snapping of planks. The mast comes down and nearly strikes you as it punches a hole through the deck, and you get caught in the sail. The sailors scatter about, cutting ropes so that if it sinks, the mast does not drag the ship down. You are freed by a burly man with a cutlass who pushes a spear into your hands. He tells you to strike behind the scales at the first chance you get.

You are just about to do so as the massive serpent crashes down onto the ship entirely. Once a proud and dignified vessel, it is now little more than driftwood scattered throughout the ocean in bits the size of matches.

Through it all you hear the cries of fear and agony of sailors who find themselves amidst the waves or in the serpent's maw. You are flung up by the impact, and after following a neat arc, you plummet toward the seas. Eyes wide with fear, you watch as the wall of black liquid closes in. You scream, not only for fear of what lies beneath those waves, but also for the fact that you can see the ocean's scavengers tearing apart your fellow explorers, already.

You break the blackened surface, and the cold immediately paralyzes you. It saps you of all life, it drains your energy, and as you sink through the murk, you feel the flame of life fade within you. An iron chokehold coils itself around your chest, threatening to crush you as your last breath leaves you. You feel death approaching.

Something takes your shoulders; A gentle hold, which conjures thoughts of a loved one's hands upon your body. You look on complacently as some of your shipmates sink past you, only recognizing them due to the dark, human shapes in the water, steadily falling below you.

You drift off into sweet nothingness.]]

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/dzBUeI1.jpg?1]]

[center [i As you wake, you dare not open your eyes. You lie comfortably. You convince yourself you suffered an ill dream, but as you open your eyes, you find yourself on unknown shores. Anxiety grips you for a moment. Cold winds howl through nearby rock formations, passing you by and cutting right through your soaked form.

You stand up, as weak and vulnerable as a freshly-born foal, raising a hand to shield your eyes from the faint sunlight breaking through the leaden sky.

Sunlight. You rejoice to see it again, and an ember of hope is kindled within your chest.

You look around the beach, the faint light allowing you to make out several shipwrecks on the shore; Torn open like hollow ribcages, stripped of all life and valuables. Apart from these wooden corpses there is nothing which hints at other life on this forsaken shore. You are lucky to find the top quarter of a broken spear wedged between two rocks nearby and pry it free. With your flimsy weapon clutched tightly in your hands, you set off inland, daunted by the feeling that you shan't make any friends here.

The further you travel inland, the more you lose any hope of seeing home again.]]

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/88fr2RH.jpg]]

[center [i You reach a great, dark mire and head through, the land itself permeated with the darkness you found yourself envelopped in at sea. Flies buzz in the distance and you hear birds in the distant canopy, but they do not sound as they should. Your ears are filled with the familiar ring of wolves' howls as you push on, and you keep your makeshift stabbing implement at the ready.

You forge on with only your hope as fuel, desperate for food, for warmth, for shelter. The seas spared you, but the elements shall not.]]

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/SKQ6vnt.jpg]]

[center [i You decide to camp out under a fallen log spanning two rocky ridges. You gather firewood but lack kindling and a firestarter, thus you quickly pile it up to provide some defense against the elements. You quietly huddle up between two boulders and your wall, contemplating your hopelessness and whether or not it would be better to just end it all.

The spearhead prods into your flesh, drawing a speck of blood just as you hear a sound which stops your heart for a moment, which causes your blood to freeze.

A panicked cry. A human cry.

With nothing to lose, you get up and dash towards the source of the sound; Perhaps you can be this one's saviour, just as you had been saved from the seas.]]

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