Monday, 15 August 2011

Bay of Sirens

The Sea of Sorrows, once known as the Bay of Sirens, is a sea surrounded by Kryta, the Southern Shiverpeaks, the Tarnished Coast, Orr, and the Strait of Malchor. Its hub and northern most stretch reaches to the mouth of Lion’s Arch, the renovated remains of a corsair’s haven and shattered city from hundreds of years ago.
  Within the Sea of Sorrows linger dark enemies other than Zhaitan’s undead minions. The bloodthirsty and ravaging krait, the frog-like and alchemically excelling hylek, the stout and peaceful quaggan and many other of the usual creatures of the ocean mingle, fight and exist with another in the waters and along the coastlines.
  The rising of Orr turned their ecosystems into havoc as Zhaitan’s chaos ensued. The hylek were forced inland along the coastal regions and have spread vastly in numbers and size while the quaggan have opted to move further inland through rivers to lakes and shorelines around the Maguuma Jungle, Steamspur Mountains and Kryta to avoid trouble.
  Despite the fight for survival amongst these races and environments, it still appears as though the truly dominant races of the land have the hardest fight to win. Human, charr, asura, norn and sylvari alike face the undeniable threat of the Elder Dragons in each of their respective places of Tyria, yet even within the shadow of their darkened wings, the fight for supremacy, revenge and life continues in ways that can never be completely traced.

A heavy downpour fell from the canopy of dark grey clouds as though the land needed the rain. All around the small fishing boat waves crashed and caused the vessel to groan in agony. A younger adolescent and his father worked hard to hold the boat on its course as the farthest eastern island of the Dominion of Winds disappeared behind a thick curtain of fresh rain several miles away.
  They had been out fishing among the Sea of Sorrows since early morning and had let themselves drift far too south. It had been the boys fault, but his father had not criticised him – the storm was enough of a consequence as a tongue lashing, maybe more. The clouds had appeared faster than usual for the bay and had caught them off guard before they had a chance to redirect their course. In the end they simple resigned to the fact that it was going to be a long slog back to Lion’s Arch.
  The boy went to grab a flailing rope but lost his traction as a frighteningly large wave collided with the side of the fishing boat. He toppled over, threatening to fall head first into a large bucket of fishing spears, but at the last moment a strong grip swung him around. His father’s fingertips lost their clutch and the boy slammed painfully into the deck of the boat with his shoulder.
  “Get up, son! No time to feel sorry for yourself! I need you to fix those lines!”
  The boy groaned and pushed himself up as the boat swayed on a sickening angle. Tools of the fishing trade spilled over the deck and over the sides as another massive wave threatened to flip the boat, throwing the boy off balance for the second time in a minute and sending him careening towards the port side of the vessel. Just in time he threw out his right arm and hooked it around the mast pole and held on for dear life, grunting with the effort as his energy quickly drained.
  Mercifully the boat levelled out and the boy’s father quickly picked him off the deck, leaving him instantly to leap into the air and capture two flailing pieces of rope to bring into submission. The boy watched his father in wonder as cold rain pelted against his sodden body and gale force winds pushed angrily against him. He hung onto the mast as a sharp pain jolted from his shoulder up his neck, determined to not be more of a burden to his father than he already had been.
  The storm continued as they sailed north, its ferocity barely dimming as the first hour crawled by. Both fishermen were robbed off whatever energy they had had and were left feeding off the adrenaline that kept them alert. Shadows of distant islands lingered beyond the hazy layers of pelting rain and every few minutes both looked north in the hope that the magnitude and shadow of Lion’s Arch would become visible through the rain, a beacon and symbol of hope amidst the storm.
  The father barked orders frequently as the storm began to slow and allow the boy to move more freely without danger. Slowly but surely the seas levelled out and the wind quietened. The rain continued to pour in flooding quantities, but somewhere through the thick haze a growing wall of darkened shadows was growing to the north.
  With a wide grin the boy pointed towards the silhouette of Lion’s Arch with his unhindered left arm, turning to his father as he did so. But as he turned, his smile quickly changed to a gaping mouth as his elation turned to dread.
  Slithering over the handrails on the starboard side, a large snake-like creature armed with swords and strange armour appeared. The boy’s father had his back to the creature, and before his son could even utter a word the creature had the man’s head in an iron grip, its slimy skin oozing over his father’s leather tunic and stubbled chin.
  A look of horror filled the father’s eyes as the creature began to retreat back to the handrails, the human unable to get a solid grip on the creature’s slimy hold. The boy ran forward instinctively, not out of braveness but out of foolishness, and attempted to help his father with his able left arm. His smaller fingers fumbled and slipped over the glistening skin of the creature and seconds later he was kicked aside as his father’s upturned legs smashed into his head. The boy recovered instantly as his awakening fear pushed him beyond the concussion he had just incurred and watched as his father’s boots dipped beneath the surface of the churning water.
  “Father!” the boy screamed, frantically searching the surface of the water for a sign of his father’s return, slipping over the handrail as ooze from the creature mixed with the rain water on the wooden surface.
  But as the minutes passed and the storm continued to calm, his father never returned. Miraculously he had been able to sail the fishing boat one-handed back into the harbours of Lion’s Arch, but as he sought for assistance to find his father he was only met with resistance.
  “Boy, it is unfortunate, that is true, but no one could hope to follow that damned creature. Not the krait. The best you can hope for him is that his death is swift and painless.”
  Alastair opened his eyes and sat bolt up, frantically wiping away the sweat that had pebbled on his forehead. His eyes were dilated and he searched almost desperately through the small room with his eyes, a faint glimmer of hope shining through the fear.
  Nearby a shadow moved and he reacted, rolling off the bed and reaching for a staff that he had left leaning against a bedside table.
  “Alastair!” A familiar voice called.
  The results were astounding. Agrestal’s call cut through his hazy dream in an instant and brought him to the place he stood, half-dressed and panting, a staff at his fingertips.
  Her silhouette filled the doorway in the dark pre-dawn shadows. He could feel waves of empathy coursing from her towards him as he silently returned to the bed and pulled the sheets over him despite the heat he felt.
  “Is everything alright?” she asked, not bothering to enter further.
  Somewhere outside a snarl cut through the night, no doubt some charr having nightmares.
  “It will be,” Alastair replied, staring out to the grimy window and towards the faintly glimmering stars beyond. “It will be.”

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