1 Chapter 1

Thick and heavy drops of rain pelted the ship.

Inside the warmth of the cabin, elegantly dressed passengers exchanged greetings and shared stories. Servants milled about like ants, revealing extravagant delicacies from beneath silver platters, forever poised to pour fragrant wine into a guest's cup.

In the center of the room one table stood out amongst the others. There seemed to exist an invisible circle of calm around those few seated guests.

Amidst the cunning merchants and powerful nobles, all who's exquisite temperaments had been instilled within them since birth, the 5 individuals at the center table appeared out of place.

While others sought furiously to expand their circles and forge alliances, the guests seated at the center table paid no interest to the going ons around them.

The diligent servers dared only to cast hasty glances at the table before immediately returning to their work.

Soft candlelight reflected in a huge emerald gem delicately centered on the chest of a round moustached man. Those around him presented fawning expressions and silken words at every opportunity.

200 gems had been used in the crafting of the extraordinary necklace. In daytime it shimmered brightly and during the night all sources of light seemed to be drawn towards it by an invisible force.

Within upstanding circles it was widely referred to as the green beard of the giant. It belonged to a Lord Lancaster, a trusted subordinate of a powerful king who's Chamber of Commerce spanned an entire continent.

All it would take was a single word for entire cities to tremble with the marching of hoof and foot. An army thousands strong would gather, becoming the sharpest blade in Lord Lancaster's hand.

Yet here, as he brought a piece of tender pigeon meat to his mouth, all of the authority he wielded could not stop his hand from shaking.

Occasionally his eyes would flicker to the center table.

A child could recognise the emotion in his eyes.


Behind the din of activity the pitter-patter of rain echoed softly.

"Keep your eyes open! Do not take them off the sea! Those things will tear you in two before you can blink!"

Shouting orders at the top of his lungs the sailor's voice barely pierced the roaring of the sea.

The messy and soaked mop of white hair on his head tossed this way and that in the fierce winds.

Under his watchful stead tens of sailors rushed back and forth on the deck. Some pulled on ropes as thick as pythons while others held long iron rifles, vigilantly staring into the blue abyss that lay beyond them in all directions.

"Get ready! Show no mercy, those demons smell your fear!"

For a brief moment it was as if nature pitied the foolishness of the sailors. Perhaps as the life faded from their eyes these sailors could enjoy one last breath of salty air.

The lull of the waves was broken only by the sounds of rifles clicking.

A flash of lighting tore through the swirling grey clouds high above, illuminating the deck of the ship as if it was day.

Then hell poured forth.


Bullets ripped across the deck, small explosions lighting up the sailors' expressions of fury and horror.

The grey eyes of the captain flickered with sorrow. Too many times he had born witness to this scene.

They were huge. Hulking atrocities wrapped in thick carapaces the colour of rotten blood.

In their hundreds they came, clambering desperately up the ship's hull in search of meat. Their shrieking faintly reached the ears of the guests inside the cabin.

Plump faces pressed against the ornate glass windows. Servants reassured in soothing tones that the situation was being properly handled.

Yet as the guests watched a man's head soar several feet into the sky, no amount of promises could slow the violent beating in their chests.

"The eyes! Shoot them in the eyes!"

Bellowing orders the captain's heart that had long since steeled itself to the screams of man loosened slightly.

These were his men. Brothers in arms he had drank and sang with, some for nearly a decade.

Now their lives would forever end on this ship.

Each sailor responded differently to the invasion from an another world as the demons from the blue depths charged towards them.

Some roared bravely, courageous even in their dying moments as they used the last of their strength to plunge thick blades into the eyes of the abominations.

Some stood still, the sweet promises of boundless treasure and adventure replaying mockingly in their minds.

They died in an instant. Their bodies still warm and soft with life would be shared between several of the undersea creatures.

Shards of bone and fragments of organs were strewn across the deck.

The guests thought nothing of the rich flowery fragrance that welcomed them onto the ship.

Even as the waves crashed and the winds howled the captain refused to enter his cabin to rest. The salty smell of the sea, only that could allow him to forget for a moment that it was his comrades' blood mixed into that sweet scent.

The Darling of The Seas, the ship was called. A beautiful machine of wood and steel that had taken nearly a decade to construct.

Only the sailors knew the true horrors at sea.

"Hold out! A minute more!" The captain roared.

His words fueled the embers of hope in the sailors' eyes. Their limbs moved with newfound vigor as they fought desperately to repel the invaders.

Most of the sailors were no older than 30. Without exception their sealskin coats bulged with muscles.

Recruiting a sailor without strength to fire a rifle and swing a blade was no different than hurling the man overboard into the jaws of the blue abyss.

Every sailor had a story; seeking adventure they had signed up to guard this grand vessel, in dire need of coin to save a loved one they chose to stake their life here on the water.

The sailors joked that there was no sane mind amongst them.

Dripping with icy water the sailors would return to their bunks. Alcohol was forbidden onboard. The only solace to horrors they faced each night was one another.

In spite of risking their lives each night raucous laughed echoed in the bowels of the ship. Stories of prostitutes with stunning flexibility and wives that nagged and squabbled.

As the sailors fought for their lives the light of oil lamp and the tearing of dried rations seemed a world.

Nonetheless one sailor was different to the rest. His skin was not tanned by the sun like the hardened sailors and his dreams were not filled by sex and booze.

He wielded his rifle with shocking proficiency. More skilled than hardened sailors.

Every bullet of his sank deep into the marble sized eye of a crawling creature, ending it's life.

The captain repeated the name of the sailor in his mind. Skilled warriors were worthy of his respect.

Jace, an entirely ordinary deckhand recruited from a seaside village. The kingdom of his birth required the eldest son of every family to serve in the military for a minimum duration of 5 years. Here he would've been taught to wield a blade and rifle.

Extensive background checks were paid for and meticulously carried out by the backers of The Darling of The Sea. This was necessary to prevent assassins disguising themselves amongst the ships crew.

While his knowledge of that domain was extremely shallow the captain knew that the backers of The Darling had means beyond that of mortal men.

His thoughts drifted to the 5 individuals seated at the center table.


"Brace yourselves!" The captain roared.

Unbeknownst to anyone the eyes of the skillful deckhand contained more than just relief as he heard the captain's shout.

In his hazel eyes curiosity twinkled.


Water droplets trembled on the deck. From the center of the ship a powerful pulse spread forth.

Cerulean light tinged the edges of the sailors vision and within the cabin the guests watched with wide astonished eyes.

Bright blue light illuminated the ship in the deep darkness.

The crashing of the waves was interrupted by the sound of heavy rocks falling into the sea.

From the vantage point of the cabin the guests, unaware that they had abandoned the decorum befitting of their status, observed that the splashing sound was produced not by rocks, but by the bodies of the crustaceans falling from the ship's hull and into the roaring waves.

On the deck sailors breathed out long sighs. Pausing for merely a moment to celebrate, they swiftly began to drag the motionless bodies of the crustaceans into the hull.

Seeing this the 5 individuals at the center table finally displayed some signs of interest.

"We shall observe these creatures up close. I believe it will not be too much to request one or two of their corpses."

The sailors ignored their aching limbs and spent the next hour working in teams to store the demons of the depth beneath the deck.

Only when the last creature was stored did they finally show signs of fatigue. Slowly and clumsily they crawled and stumbled deeper into the ship to their quarters.

Those with wounds too grievous to make the journey alone were supported by the shoulders of fellow sailors.

The expert marksman, Jace, supported a soldier who's chest oozed blood from a deep laceration. It was evident that he had fought one of the creatures in close combat and received a blow from it's pincers.

As things stood it was unknown whether he would survive the night.

Thick and heavy drops of rain continued to fall.

Next chapter