You do know it's cruel to make jests of an addled mind, don't you? Nessa alive, and turned into a bloody cod? Hah! That said, you've never been wrong before so seems like I'm going to have to stare this fanciful tale in its fishy face.
She talked of the Brine King, did she? Now there's a name what can trouble the breeches off even the most jaded of poets. Though Merveil might be dead, the sea still has its seductive songs, and this time it's a big, briny baritone doing the wailing.
Lilly Roth? Granddaughter of the legendary Rot-tooth Roth? Oh, apologies if I seem a little... giddy. It's not any old day you get to meet marine royalty. I mean, you know how I feel about pirates and all, but the Roths have as much in common with those scurvy sea rats as a... as a shark does with a goldfish.
Lilly has her granddaddy's blood in her veins; it's plain for all to see. Look at the lustre in her eyes, the ruddy blush of her skin. That there's a pirate princess, and no mistake.
Yes, we live in curious times indeed. A time when old stories are being birthed, mewling and puking, into our world of dirt and blood.
It's all a bit inspiring really, hence I've written a little something.
Ancient anecdotes Now wake from their beds Looming in our fears Towering above our heads Age-old lusts And bygone greeds Walking and wreaking As humanity bleeds Rivers of history Lakes of blood The gods stand upon us As we cower in the mud
You won't find a sailor that doesn't whisper a quiet prayer to the Brine King before casting off. In fact, under the maddening radiance of a full moon, the more superstitious captains would drown some poor slave or failed mutineer... just to keep old Tsoagoth happy.
No, that wasn't a sneeze. That's the fish god's old Azmerian name. It's considered foul luck to speak it on board a ship. A keel-hauling offense.
Screams. Howls and booms of unholy intonation. The shriek and clank of some unfathomable apparatus and the pervading stench of scorched flesh and boiling blood. That's Axiom Prison now that our lady of Umbra has come home to roost.
As a poet, I have nothing against a little creativity. Yet while I might mould word and wonder, Shavronne's art tends towards the visceral. Flesh, bone and soul.
Artistic pursuit is the loftiest of callings, but in this instance, I believe some rigorous criticism is in order.
The old goat's turned up his tootsies, has he? Oh wait... I feel a poem coming on.
Through the bleating flock Our exile did wade Over hoof and horn and goat blood sprayed Until at last an audience with Old King Billy Or The Cloven One Or Abberath And other names, just as silly "Dine with me, friend." Old Billy did growl. "Feed me your soul." "Feed me it, now!" Our exile just smiled and gutted that goat. So that not one more soul Would get stuffed down his old throat.
Honestly, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a good rhyme for 'goat', exile.
You'll not find a more renowned pirate as Weylam 'Rot Tooth' Roth. In times when Fairgraves was still a whelp earning his sea legs, Rot-tooth was prowling the Strait of Oriath in his ship, the 'Black Crest'.
It's said he build it hisself, lining its hull with the bones of some great sea beast he slew with nothing but a harpoon and a bottle o' rum. Never was there a more nimble, more ferocious vessel. Like that leviathan's spirit still lived and breathed in its timbers.
No one's sighted Rot Tooth for twenty years or more, but I know where the Black Crest is. The Ship Graveyard, no less. Seems that Weylam Roth might have had his last meal with Lady Merveil.
Now, I'm sure you've noticed that Lioneye's Watch has seen better days. Our once bubbling township has, alas, become a brooding quagmire of gloom and despair. I blame the unrelenting weather.
As you know, I am both a humanitarian and a strong believer in the soul-sustaining power of story. Back when I was still Captain of the Merry Gull, many days at sea afforded me time to work on my thespian aspirations. I wrote a theatrical epic, a one man show entitled "Cedric and the Buxom Stranger".
I sealed the manuscript inside a roll of oiled leather and stashed it in the hold for safekeeping. Perhaps you could salvage it for me from that Tidal Island upon which my poor ship came to rest? Who knows, maybe we can bring some joy back to Lioneye's Watch with a bit of live entertainment?
Marvelous! Ah yes, yes, it's all here. Ahem, Act One, Scene One:
"Along the shoreline, the beach grass sways, A blazing sun sinks neath sparkling bays. O' strange be the night when the drowned dead rise, And a pale moon ascends upon cold skies. The Stranger still is lost to me, those silken pillows upon which I lay at sea..."
Moody, atmospheric... not as funny as I remember, but I'm sure it gets better in Act Two. Regardless, you have my thanks. Please, take something for your efforts.
And next time you're in town, do come and see the show. I'll leave your name at the door... if I can salvage a door from somewhere, that is.