This is a work of fanfiction, written to pay tribute to the video game Bloodborne, the visionary author H.P. Lovecraft, and other influences. I in no way seek financial gain from it, and the settings, concepts, and some of the characters within remain the intellectual property of From Software and Sony Entertainment.
I also cannot be held responsible for any deterioration in one’s mental faculties, resultant from the eldritch truths contained therein…those without sufficient Insight are advised not to proceed. Before proceeding to madness, first read Part 1.
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 3: UNKNOWN SEA, FIRST WATCH
Water. Water, all around.
No, let’s go back…
Following my reading of the Byrgenwerth scholar’s missive I was mightily troubled. Although I did not fully understand the meaning of the concepts therein, they weighed heavily on my already rum-befuddled mind. The events of the proceeding two days meant that I could not just dismiss her words as the fantasies of a besotted young student with a taste for the gothic.
Nethertheless, I eventually fell into a sleep of sorts. I dreamed, but my dream was not this time of terrifying creatures with heads of roses, or for that matter, eyes. I instead was transported in my slumber back to this very great cabin just a few days earlier, when my love the First Mate and I had lain between these covers for the last time.
The sun was rising off to stern, and we watched it though the bay windows that span the rear of the Solaire, propped up on our pillows. The ship’s wake cut a line of frothy white surf across the blue-green sea, and a flock of gulls flapped lazily over it, making for land about a mile to starboard. We were at full sail making for the Yharnam area, and all was well.
It seems so long ago now, despite being only a half-week now passed!
“So, have you thought about it?” The First Mate said softly, caressing my arm with her hand. I feigned misunderstanding.
“No, my foolish young love, I am not going ashore to visit Yharnam with you! I have no interest in cathedrals and blood rites…”
She giggled and gave me a playful slap.
“Not that, lady Cap’n!” Her mocking impression of the crew’s subservience was always so alluring.
“Although to meet a real Healing Church hunter would be most… exiting! No, you know what I mean. The important thing.” she continued, growing more serious.
I of course knew to what she alluded. We had discussed the matter with much urgency of late. We both wanted to, but there was a most obvious barrier. We were both women, and even if that were generally accepted the fates had not made us so that we could bear fruit together. In any case, I was getting older by the day. It would have to be the First Mate that did it, a prospect I did not much relish but knew it would be our only option.
“Have you found one?” I asked flatly.
“Yes.” she replied, hesitantly. “I have found a surrogate.”
I rolled over away from her and said nothing. I hoped that my silence would be interpreted as reluctant consent, but I wanted not to know who it was.
Oh, by the fates I wish I had asked.
I was awoken most abruptly- the Second Mate was bashing and yelling at the cabin door, an action that seemed to be becoming a pastime for him. Nursing my bruises I stumbled around in the almost total darkness, save for the chest of surrogates’ blue glow. It was still the middle of the night, and outside the cabin windows, the lake was a moonlight absorbing ink-well. Fumbling on a hand-lantern I staggered to the door, unlocked it and wrenched it open to see the flustered Second Mate’s fretful visage, the lantern light giving his red beard and hair a hellish quality.
“You better come quick, Lady Cap’n. The college, Cap’n, it….”
“It is destroyed, like I told you.” I said, irritably. Had he succumbed to madness?
“Please lady Cap’n…just come. Please.”
I once more slapped my tri-corned hat upon my head, reached instinctively for my cutlass before remembering I’d dropped it on the lakeside plaza, reached again for my pistol before remembering I’d lost that too, and then finally followed the Second Mate up to the aft deck, unarmed. A number of crew members had gathered topside, and were murmuring and looking worried in the intense moonlight. They all fell silent as I approached. My former Oarsman looked particularly distressed.
I followed their gazes off to the starboard.The mist had finally lifted, which was odd as it was clearly nightfall, and there was now a clear view across the still lake to the shoreline.
The college of Byrgenwerth sat on the shoreline under an enormous full moon. By that I mean not the smouldering pile of rubble from which I had eloped just yesterday, but the fully realised structure in all its classically pillared, modernist glory. Even the balcony was intact, and the lunarian crowned the edifice, in domed mockery of the events of the preceding day.
I knew now why the crew were looking at the Oarsman and I most strangely- they had never seen the destruction of Byrgenwerth through the mist,and must have now have thought our stories to be that of madmen or liars! In fact, I now rubbed my head where I had hit it during the storm, wondering if that may indeed be the case!
As I watched the building more closely, I noticed something else amiss. There was a small boat moored off to one side of the lakeside plaza.
I indicated this to the Second Mate.
“The Cabin Boy saw three individuals enter the building a short while ago, ma’am” he replied, still looking at me skeptically. I began to wish I still has my cutlass!
“And are all our away boats accounted for?” I replied.
“They are both stowed away in the proper manner, lady Cap’n”. I looked over the railing, watching my back as I did so, and sure enough our away boats were lashed to the port and starboard sides as usual.
“Then who…” I began to ask. A movement on the shoreline caught my eye. I hastily pulled my viewing monocle out of my garb and aimed it for the college. I quickly found the discrepancy: the lunarium dome that sat atop the main building was once again opening, a split in its metal casing irising apart to reveal the telescopic device within. From out on the lake, it looked like a fruit being split asunder to reveal a mechanical seed.
I watched through the monocle, heartbeat quickening, as a tiny figure appeared to leap out of the way as the telescope pitched downwards towards the lake. A figure wearing a tri-pointed hat.
With its viewing portion angled towards the gigantic, uncanny moon, the telescope in the lunarium now channeled the moonlight, and a thin bright beam streamed from its lens down towards the lake’s surface, somewhere near the Solaire off to port. I heard to crew start to jabber in alarm, but did not yet lower my viewing monocle, for to my utmost alarm I saw another figure appear behind the person with the tri-cornered hat already standing in the lunarium. I cried out as I watched the Choir hunter, fully alive and regaled in her white garb, plunge a cane through the hatted figure’s back. They were very far away, but I fancied I saw the resurrected hunter flash a sinister smile at me underneath her blindfold cap, as my double fell lifeless off her cane to crumple on the balcony roof, a full floor below.
The Cabin Boy’s screeching from the mainmast crowsnest broke my trance.
“Whirlpooooool! Whirlpool Lady Cap’n! Off to port!”
I dropped my monocle and with a host of panicked crew members rushed to the port railing. Sure enough, where the celestial moonbeam channeled by the lunarium’s upturned telescopic device hit the water, a reflection of moonlight was created so bright that the afore-calm waters were now steaming with heat, and frothing wildly. The centrifugal force created by this disruption was causing these rapids to churn anti-clockwise, creating an unholy swirl which now began to drag the Solaire against her anchor towards its epicenter.
I realised that if we did not correct this we would soon be capsized.
“Release the anchor!” I bellowed but the ever vigilant Second Mate was already at the bow, attending to the great chain there even as the ship pitched wildly to starboard against its mooring. The fearsome red-head had hefted an axe and began to wildly swing at the chain, sending sparks flying into the ether as the axehead met the iron links, and it presently snapped. The ship instantly righted, but then pitched to port and I saw to my horror that the whirlpool had widened to a gaping circular torrent and that the Solaire was now circling its edge in a rapid descent towards the scorching centre, where the blinding focus of the moonlight seemed to have created a new star. We hurtled towards that awful brightness.
“Grab the oars!” I yelled, and some of the crew moved to obey, but we were already too entrapped for it to make much difference. Some crewmen were trying to hurl down the sails, others had fallen to the deck and were praying to whatever gods they held true.
For myself, I ran to to the wheel, and hurled the rudder hard to starboard in a vain attempt to steer us out of the hells’ mouth. The Second Mate ran the length of the deck and attempted to assist me, but it was to no avail. Each lap of the whirlpool was taking us a little closer to our doom.
Finally, we were within the heart of the torrent. I heard the screams of crew, and we were enveloped in white light.
We were floating in midair above the deck. Gravity itself seemed to have failed us.
After a few weightless seconds, the realisation dawned that we were falling through the air, our bodies suspended a few yards above the decking. A glance sidewards revealed a body of water rushing up to meet the plummeting ship.
With an almighty splash the Solaire hit the surface below,throwing great sheets of water into the air from the displacement. Her crew hit the deck just seconds later in a cacophony of human cries, the clatter of weapons and utensils hitting the deck, and the crackle of buckling wood as the Solaire settled to its new orientation. Several crew landed overboard in the water.
I staggered to my feet by the wheel. . I was yet further bruised and a tooth felt dislodged, but was otherwise unharmed. I walked across the deck surveying the carnage.
Several crew members had sustained broken limbs in the fall. Presently the Surgeon came up from below decks to attend to them, but their screams were creating an nigh on unbearable racket. The Second Mate had also righted himself from where he landed next to me by the wheel, and was now helping several crew members throw oars down to the men who had gone overboard. The Cabin Boy, who had miraculously managed to hold on to the crowsnest as we descended, now shimmied down the rigging to help the Surgeon haul injured men and women below decks.
For my part I walked to the edge of the port rail.
Water. Water, all around. On all sides of the ship a flat, calm sea spread outwards to an infinite horizon. I elevated my gaze upwards to see from where we had fallen, but saw only a near perfectly white, featureless sky, glowing softly in all directions. There was certainly no sign of the great lake, Byrgenwerth, or any landmass whatsoever.
“Cursed. We are cursed!” wailed a young sailor near me, who was nursing an arm that looked horribly bent.
Presently the Second Mate came to my side.
“What are your orders, Cap’n?” He gasped. He was out of breath and streaming with sweat from his toils of helping the injured.
“I need time to consider. I will be in the great cabin!” I declared and then descended below deck with haste. The Second Mate stared after me, dumbfounded, but in truth I just wanted to check in on them. The surrogates, that is.
I found the great cabin in disarray. The writing bureau had upended itself, discouraging the papers that make up this account all over the floor. Bottles of rum, both empty and full, were strewn about the place, to my dismay at least a couple had smashed to pieces. The music box was intact (small mercies).
The chest had also landed on its side, spilling the adorable little invertebrates all over the floor. They were squirming in their ever present blue haze, and with the same franticness I had shown at Byrgenwerth, I hastened to gather them up and return them to the chest. They were thankfully all unharmed, and I think they appeared to get warmer to the touch when I lifted each of the poor dears into their chest, mayhaps in gratitude.
For a while I sat by the now-righted chest, listening to them writhe merrily against each other within. Once I was content that they were settled, I got up, picked up the writing bureau, and set it here facing the bay windows so that I can contemplate the hell in which we find ourselves. This dreamer’s sea.
Opening a fresh, unbroken bottle of rum I begin to write the latest entry in the log.
Water. Water, all around…
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 4: UNKNOWN SEA, THIRD WATCH
Today I reluctantly took audience with the ship’s Surgeon. I had fallen into a slumber after the imbibing of several more bottles of rum, and he had apparently attempted to rouse me once already at an earlier hour, without success. Why a Captain cannot be allowed a moment’s respite aboard her own ship is beyond my comprehension, but there you have it!
His report on our casualties to date and the state of the Solaire in general was grim, and did my throbbing head no favours. A dozen crewmen and women had been grievously injured in our fall from the heavens. One had died instantaneously when he was impaled on the foremast during his fall, another had gone into a deep slumber after cracking her head against the forecastle and had ceased breathing just an hour previously. Out of the four crewmen who had landed overboard, two had perished as the landlubbers could not swim, despite the Second Mate’s efforts to salvage them. The remainder of the injured were resting up in the main cabin under the forecastle, where their unearthly howls were causing great distress to the other crewmates.
The Solaire herself appeared to be physically intact, but our supplies were dwindling. We had stocked food and water for a two week mission at most, and we were now in an unknown sea with no land in sight. Thus rationing was now in force, and the crew had already started to grumble. Morale was poor, warned the Surgeon. I grunted irritably at this, the man had a condescending way of looking at me over his pince-nez glasses. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it before!
Further to these efforts, the Surgeon had put together a brief survey of the environment in which we now find ourselves. The Unknown Sea indeed extended to the horizon in all directions, under the awning of a sky which emitted an endless, virginal-white glow. He had observed the vague essence of what might be cirrus clouds deep within the milky heavens, but there was no sign of the sun at all. As such, the passage of time could only be marked using our pocket watches, and sleep during the “night” past had proved evasive for many of the crew, already disturbed by the moaning of their injured brethren.
A weighted rope had been cast overboard, and had not stopped at even its full length of a half-fathom. There was also a persistent light wind blowing in a single direction- he could not say which as the compasses had ceased to work effectively (I later tested this myself, indeed they just spun wildly, which was most curious). The Second Mate had apparently taken the liberty of having the crew hoist the mainsail, and we were now making slow passage across this strange ocean.
One more item of idle talk had appeared to peak his interest: on the first watch this morning, the Cabin Boy had reported seeing something from the sky in the far distance off to stern. Something that looked very much like a ship…
When he had finally finished his monologue I thanked and then dismissed the Surgeon, declining his suggestion that I ascend to the deck to address the crew. Once he had left I bolted the cabin door.
I opened a fresh bottle of rum, wound up the tiny music box, and sat down next to the chest of surrogates. I began to sing them a lullaby to the tune of its gentle chimes.
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 5: UNKNOWN SEA, THIRD WATCH
At the start of third watch, I removed a shining coin of Healing Church gold from the sea-chest, ascended the cabin-gangway and strode up onto the deck amidships.
Once there,I bellowed to my astonished crew to gather about the main mast. Ordered the Cabin Boy down from the crow’s nest. Demanded the wary Second Mate bring me his mighty hammer. Charged the ship’s Carpenter with bringing me a nail, post haste.
On receiving these items I used the hammer to smash the nail through the shining coin, pinning it to the main mast through the head of Vicar Amalia which was engraved upon its surface.
This task complete, I about turned and addressed my perplexed crew….
But enough of that for now, I am getting ahead of myself. I am attempting to avoid inscribing the unspeakable upon this parchment, for my heart and soul can scarcely bear it!
But, lest any chronicler think me a vengeful madwoman, let us go back…
It was the start of first watch. I knew this only because I could hear the single hollow chime of the ship’s bell on the aft-deck above the great cabin, which woke me from another rum-drowned slumber. But if the bell’s hollow resonance only roused me to an apathetic consciousness, the sound that followed moments later sent a shock to my soul that shot me straight up in bed.
I erupted forth from the cabin like a cannonball, and out topside onto the deck. A number of the crew had heard it too, and were standing like riverbed reeds in a current about the decking, straining to ascertain its origin. It was indeed a woman’s painful cries riding just beneath the low wind. A most singular woman’s cries.
“Where is she?” I screeched at a nearby Able Seawoman.
“It…it…could be one of the injured, Cap’n? Below decks?” the young girl stammered.
I had a good mind to grab one of the cutlasses stored against the railing to repel pirates, and run her through right there and then with it! Luckily for the hapless girl, the Cabin Boy suddenly yelled from his fort atop the mast:
“Island ahoy! Off to starboard, mates!”
I rushed to the railing, fumbled with my viewing monocle and raised it out yonder. Sure enough, a rocky islet perhaps not twenty paces across had emerged, as if from nowhere, about five hundred yards off our starboard side.
Sitting in the center of this outcrop was a woman, her legs spread out before her swollen form, her head arched back in strenuous tension, in the agony and ecstasy of birthing. Even at this distance and under the awful white glow of the sky I could tell it was her, although neither what was left of my wits or my heart wanted to believe it.
It was the First Mate.
“Shall we lower the boats madam?” Asked the nervous Seawoman by my side, but I was no longer listening. I stripped off my garb and dived headlong over the railing. I was briefly submerged in the salty waters beneath, before breaching and making fast across the surface in a swift stroke, out to meet her.
Hold fast, my love, I thought to myself. I’m coming!
A lifetime seemed to pass in the time it took to traverse that cursed current, that cavernous channel that flowed thick like tar between the Solaire and the First Mate’s islet.
I could hear her cries; now sobs, now animalistic screeches as I powered forward, one arm in front of the other. Behind me, the sounds of shouts came from the decks of the ship, but I cared not. I kicked off my boots as I swam, increasing my speed. On the few instances I occasioned to look up, I saw the First Mate’s outline, getting nearer yet still oh so far, propped upright in her struggles.
Hold on. Hold on, both of you! I am nigh!
As I swam it crossed my mind not for the first time the injustice of it, why we women alone had to bear this awful burden, this gift that keeps on taking! Or why we must suffer the agony of loss, or of never having at all, and the yearning for surrogates! Perhaps even the Cosmic Mother of which the Byrgenwerth scholar spake knew of such loss, as depicted in the missive?
Finally, I reached the pitiful shore. I crawled, as if I were a slimy crustaceous being, up onto a jagged surface of twisted rock and crushed, fossilized shells that cut my hands and knees as I attempted to scrabble over it. Uncaring for mere wounds of the flesh, in this crab-like fashion I scuttled the dozen or so paces to the centre of the islet where my love lay.
By the time I reached the First Mate her labours were over. She now sat, cross legged, angelic, with the fruit of her contractions cradled in her arms. I, conversely, was bloodied and sore, and fell to my knees as I attempted to get to my feet next to her.
“Is it…is it…” I stammered, clutching the First Mate’s hand in mine. It was real, by the glorious fates it was real!
“Yes.” she replied, turning to present the bundle to me. “It is.”
In her arms was an invertebrate creature, its flaccid white body gently writhing, its greyish tentacles reaching out inquisitively towards my love’s face.
I knew I should feel joyous but for a moment I forgot myself. I burst into tears and clutched the First Mate’s arm and shoulder, burying my face in her luscious auburn hair. She smelled of the sea, of milk, of honey and of home. Still I wept.
“I don’t understand!” I spluttered, choking on my sobs. “Is it…ours?”
I waited for her to speak, to say the words that would provide me with relief. That would end this nightmare.
“It is a…gift.”
“A gift?” I mumbled into her hair, eyes squeezed shut. “For us? A surrogate?”
“No. Not for you. For her. The Cosmic Mother.”
Her words stunned me. I began to withdraw from her hair.
Except her hair was no longer there. Instead, I realised to my utmost horror that I had been nestling in a tangle of sprintly bristles that spouted from a hard, coal-black globular shell. From the flanks of this carapace, a few scraggly insectoid legs sat strewn across the hellish, spiked ground of the islet. And at the front of this nightmarish creature that had replaced my one true love, was a mound of flesh the size of a large boulder, and it was riddled with dull, lifeless eyes. It stank of death. Whatever it was, it was clearly quite long deceased.
I knelt there before the carcass, at my altar of despair, hand clenched. Faraway, someone was screaming. It took a length of time to realise that that someone was me. I was only briefly aware of the feeling of sturdy arms gripping me from behind, lofting me back into the away boat. Of oars hitting water as we returned to the Solaire.
I used the hammer to smash the nail through the shining coin, pinning it to the main mast through the head that was engraved upon its surface.
This task complete, I about turned and addressed my perplexed crew.
“Listen, ye! All of ye! You see that shining coin, pinned against yonder mast? That be Healing Church gold. Ill-gotten through blasphemous blood rites and the work of mad medicine-men, but valuable all the same. See how the nail runs through the head of their current leader, through the head of Vicar Amelia?”
“Let me tell you this. When we get out of this bottomless ocean, this Nightmare Sea, I will give this and a chestful- more to the first man or woman on this ship who drives a harpoon through a gigantic white being, part hellish humanoid, part aquatic abomination, who I know to reside in these waters. The one known in the coastal fables as the Cosmic Mother! In eldritch science as Kos-M!”
A gasp went around the assembled crew. The Second Mate stepped forward.
“Lady Cap’n, even if that legend were true, she is said to have died when…”
“Enough!” I brushed him aside, and began to circle my enraptured seamates.
“Oh I know you think she does not exist, but I have seen the evidence of that despicable being’s sins aplenty. Oh but I know her siren’s song will be alluring, but that seductress is a poisoned spine on beautiful cosmic coral! I know you think her dead, but that fishy monstrosity haunts those waters just out yonder! As your Captain, I hereby make you this promise- I will lead you out of here and make at least one of you a rich man or woman. But first, on my honour, we will kill Kosm!”
For a moment the crowd looked befuddled, unsure what to do. Then slowly, surely, they began to come to my side. The Second Mate was trying to interject…
“Captain, we are not a hunting vessel…”
“But we have a cannon! Kill Kosm!” yelled the young Able Seawoman I had almost run through earlier, to mighty cheers.
“A dead Great One or a stove boat!” cried another.
“My spear and the cosmos will be one!” yelled my former colleague the Oarsman to much laughter, who was now brandishing a harpoon in one hand and his musket in the other.
The poor Second Mate made one last chance to appeal to reason, but was quickly shouted down.
Satisfied, I strode off the deck to return to my cabin. I briefly considered drawing a round of rum for the crew, but quickly decided it was better served soothing my own nerves.
As I reached the door of the great cabin the Surgeon accosted me, holding a bundle of rags in his hands.
“Begging your indulgence, Captain…this was found in the bottom of the away boat upon your return. You were too distraught so…”
Beneath his rags was the squirming invertebrate. I recoiled in guilt-laced horror.
“Get that damned montronisity away from me!” I roared. “And the others too. Go in and get them, the chest, man, the chest! Hoist it overboard.” I gesticulated at the cabins open door, suddenly not willing to go a step further until those sick cosmic jokes were gone.
However, as the wiry, bespectacled Surgeon began to drag the chest out onto the deck, I had an epiphany,
“Wait…leave them there. She will come for them!”
“W-who?” stammered the Surgeon.
“The Cosmic Mother.” I replied darkly. “Or as some say, Kosm.”
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 8: UNKNOWN SEA, SECOND WATCH
I have not had time to make entries in the log these three days now past. The ship, the crew and myself have been galvanised with a new sense of purpose in our hunt. Harpoons have been sharpened. The great cannon, a relic of the Solaire’s legacy as a military vessel, has been hoisted onto the deck and loaded, and currently sits protruding from the port gunwale. Men and woman practice swordplay with the anti-piracy cutlasses utop the deck.
With some reluctance, the Surgeon has opened his Zoological Encyclopedia. Within the index of the bestiary, he located the specimen with the designation Kos-M, only to find the anatomical diagrams torn out, and the information for this specimen redacted.
No matter, whatever her defences she will soon taste the spears of my heartbreak, she will suckle at our cannon, the bow of the Solaire will be the rock upon which she breaks!
The Second Mate has made further entreaties to cease my chosen course of action. In low tones he insists that our priorities must be to find land, food, fresh water, or a means of escape from this oceanic dimension. But I am fixed upon my purpose, like a shark who has scented blood. I will find her. I will have my vengeance!
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 12: UNKNOWN SEA, THIRD WATCH
Still no sign of the Cosmic Mother.
Water, all around. To the infinite horizon and beyond. We are truly lost, a mere impression of a ship upon a painter’s canvas.
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 15: UNKNOWN SEA, FIRST WATCH
The hated Kosm remains elusive.
Our supplies of food and water are beginning to run dry (more urgently, so is my rum), and the crew are losing some of their initial bloodlust for the sea beast. Thus I must once more suffer the entreaties of the Second Mate for us to cease our martial preparations and conserve our energy.
Weak, spineless man. Where is it exactly he proposes we go? To which point on our spinning compasses does he suggest we tack to?
My hate is the wind that fills the sails.
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 19: UNKNOWN SEA, THIRD WATCH
A more urgent crises than the lack of water has befallen us: I am out of rum. Any sleep I now get is haunted by the terrifying, paranoid dreams of beings of many forms, but always with heads of roses. They follow me across the valleys, seabeds, cloud-surfaces and parched desert sands of my dreams, daring me to look at their many eyes!
I always awake sick and shivering. I must find me a surrogate…
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 20: UNKNOWN SEA, THIRD WATCH
The Second Mate, that treacherous wretch, confronted me today. I awoke to his bellowing, accompanied by the awful din of him summoning me above.
“Captain! Get yourself up here! All crew gather! Heed my words!”
Thoroughly irritated, I ascended to the deck to find him by the aft mast. The crew, who were by now looking quite sunken faced and gaunt, circled round warily to see how this would transpire.
“Captain!” He roared. His beard was still as red as his face, but he had lost much muscle from starving himself, some said even more so than required by rations. He was brandishing his axe, his body tense.
“Look about yourself! No land in sight. Your crew, half starved! Your ship, barely making headway! And still, you chase fables and legends across an Unknown Sea. My condolences are with you for your losses, but madam, you must now surrender this vessel to better hands! Pray, do so without need for bloodshed!”
This last comment elicited a few murmurs of approval from the the assembled mob.
I glowered at him for perhaps a half a minute. Then I burst out laughing, maniacally. To his startled face I addressed him across the yards of deck still between us.
“You fool. You have no knowledge of a mother’s loss. You have less spine than the invertebrate Cosmic Mother! You are unaccepting of the brutality of the cosmos entire, and you shall pay the price for this mutiny!”
My words had clearly rankled him, for at that moment he roared lunged forth at me, swinging his axe above his head. The force of his onrush nearly bowled me down, but I dived to the floor at the last second, and his axe embedded itself in the mast behind me. In a rage he began to try and wrench it free, but from my supine position on the deck I reached to the railing and seized a cutlass, swung it at the Second Mate’s leg, and dismasted him at the ankle. He bellowed and crumpled to his knees, remarkably still pulling at his axe. I fell upon him, and as I prepared to impale him against the mast he finally got the axe free and made a swipe for my abdomen. I leapt back, the blade making only shallow scratch on my belly through my garb.
I wasted no time. As he swung the axe back the otherway, I took his arm off at the shoulder.
Still on his knees, squealing and now gushing blood from stumps at both the left shoulder and opposite ankle, he was easy prey as I stepped forward and eviscerated him about the abdomen. With blood now gurgling from his mouth, I knelt down and whispered in his ear.
“Oh, but there is need for bloodshed!”
I tore my blade free and he collapsed to the deck, ghostly pale.
Later, I found the Surgeon below decks in the cramped sick bay, boiling bandages over a cast iron stove.
“How is he?” I enquired, brusquely.
“Barely alive… not long for this world…if this is any earthy realm at all!” spluttered the Surgeon, clearly terrified. He visibly shook as I leaned in close.
“As you know, we are out of water, Surgeon. Food too. And rum, moreover. I need to you to take his blood, like they do in Yharnam. Make it like their blood!”
“C-ca-Captain… it isn’t…so simple… their blood… it… the Great Ones…”
I seized him about the collar. “Oh don’t you worry, we will have the blood of a Great One soon enough. In the meantime, find a way! And leave the body after, for the cook!”
I made to leave his stenching hovel.
“But Captain… even if we…did as you asked…his blood, his flesh…would not be enough…the whole crew is…too many…”
I sighed at his lack of imagination, and gesticulated into the darkness of the sickbay, where distorted forms moaned.
“The injured. Them too.”
CAPTAIN’S LOG, DAY 22: UNKNOWN SEA, UNKNOWN WATCH
The blood of our comrades has once again emboldened the Solaire’s crew. Oh it is but a poor surrogate for the genuine Yharnam article, or even my depleted rum, but oh how they fell upon it in frenzy!
And how like carrion crows we took to the flesh upon the deck, and howled with gleeful exaltation under a white sky! Before long the fever took us and the deck was a writhing mass of bodies, feeding and lusting.
I sat astride the prepped canon, watching the orgy unfolding amidships. Only two were missing. One was the Cabin Boy, who had retreated to the stern and was mournfully wringing the ship’s bell. The other was the Surgeon, who was later found hanged in his sickbay.
I addressed the remaining crew thus above the din:
“My loyal shipmates, enjoy this feast, and know that a far greater bounty will nigh be upon us! Soon we will drink the blood of the Cosmic Mother! The blood of a Great One!”
The crowd erupted into an ecstatic chant:
“Hurrah for the Captain. Kill Kosm! Hunt the Great Ones! Hunt the Great Ones!”
I glanced down to my side, and saw a flash of auburn hair. Momentarily startled. I reached down and grabbed it and twisted the face to meet mine, but it was only the Seawoman from before. Her face was smeared with blood and she looked deliciously feral. She smiled at me ravenously and said “Praise you, lady Cap’n! Kill Kosm! Hunt the Great Ones!”
I smiled back, and pulled her by the hair, bringing her close.
“Yes. Hunt the Great Ones.” I whispered in her ear.
Check back soon for Part 3!
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