The sun’s last rays splayed themselves over the low rolling hills of Eyrg. To the east, the sea was dark and gloomy, with only the rhythmic slapping of waves on the shore there to betray its presence.
Eyrg was a quite normal town, located on the coast. It was very secluded, aloof in a way; the inhabitants had no desire to learn of news outside of their homes. This may have been what led to Eyrg’s downfall.
Most men were fishermen, though some traded with the eastern islands in their heavily crewed, flat-bottomed ships. The large crews were a precaution, for it was known that great creatures lurked in the deep waters off the coast. It was said, though never confirmed, that entire ships had been capsized by a single of the sea-dwelling behemoths. According to the sea-farers, more crew members would escape from an attack if the creatures were busy devouring their comrades. It was a logical, if unethical, solution to their dilemma.
Ships were docked at the town’s pier when not sailing the waters. Roit, keeper of the pier, lived in a small house built only a few feet from where the ships stayed. A shed beside the house held supplies for ship repair. It was Roit’s duty to watch and ensure that none of the vessels were stolen and report damages on the ships. This season, the seas had been relatively calm, and there was little fear of ships being stolen, considering how few outsiders entered Eyrg anyway.
That evening, Roit sat in his shack, sitting on his bed with his feet propped up on a stool. He whittled a piece of driftwood idly while whistling quietly to himself. An old cracked lantern served as the only illumination. He suddenly halted in the middle of the tune, having thought he heard a small noise. After a few minutes, he blamed the hallucination on that earlier pint of ale and continued shaping his stick.
Roit heard sounds again, an almost inaudible knocking, and realized that he was not imagining it. Scratching at the stubble on his face, he stood and lumbered to the door, where he figured the noise was coming from. As he cracked the door to peer outside, it flew open with a resounding bang. A tall, cloaked and hooded figure stepped through the doorway, with five stone-faced men following. The men were heavily armed and of strong build. Roit backed up a step, gulped, and then inquired shakily, “What be yer business round ‘ere?”
The cloaked figure, obviously the leader, replied in a whisper, smooth as honey and deceptively calm: “I need a ship.”
“A ship?” Roit had realized that these visitors probably didn’t have good intentions. He considered trying to escape, but seeing as he was middle-aged, balding, and rather round about the middle, there was little chance of getting through the tough men.
“A ship?” he repeated, trying to stay calm. “Ships are docked ‘ere, not sold. If you be wantin’ to buy yerself a ship, you’d best wait til’ mornin’; one of the cap’ns may sell yer their ship, though the price’d be high, seein’ as lumber’s precious ‘round ‘ere.” The tall figure was deadly quiet for a while, and then hissed, “I did not come here to buy a ship. I need a ship, and I intend to get it tonight, by one way or another.” It was impossible to see the leader’s expression, for the hood obscured its face. Roit was now pale and shaking, rooting to the spot with terror.
“Come outside. You must show me the best vessel that is docked at this pier.” The stranger’s voice was now much more sinister. “Do not attempt escape.”
The armed men cleared the doorway for Roit to go through. They then surrounded him, giving him no avenue for escape. The leader walked behind them, with a slow but meaningful gait.
Roit, drenched with sweat and teeth chattering, led them to a ship near the end of the pier. It was large and painted black. Its two sails billowed in the sudden chill wind that was now arising. “This’n’s called the Delilah, after the cap’n’s wife, I suspects. It’s the best ship ‘round these parts. Was built only a year ago, and it sails fast’n smooth.”
The leader stepped aboard the Delilah. A pale hand emerged from the folds of the dark cloak. The leader felt the sides of the ship, as if checking for flaws in the wood. The dark figure continued inspecting the ship. As if considering it for a while, the leader was silent. Then: “It will do.”
Roit gasped, with fear or relief he did not know. He fervently hoped that this meant that the group would board the ship and sail off with it, setting him free. “Then… then I can go now, sir?” A low chuckle, menacing, yet musical in a terrible way, emanated from the tall leader. “Yes… you have been a great help.” The dark figure advanced upon Roit. He let out a frightened whimper. “I give you your leave… sir!”
The cloaked and hooded leader let Roit’s limp form drop from its grasp, his face purple and his eyes bulging. The figure turned and gave a low call. A score of soldiers materialized out of the gloom. “We have a ship,” said their leader. “But first, we have cause to eliminate the stupid name on the side—it is a blemish on this otherwise perfect vessel. Find paint in that old fool’s supply shed and hide the name Delilah.” Then, addressing another threescore warriors who had appeared, the figure said,“While my crew and I sail, do your work here in this pitiful town. Return to the fortress and await me there; my deed shan’t take long.”
Stepping contemptuously over Roit’s body, the leader added: “And throw this into the sea while you’re at it. That garbage has no need of a grave.”
The men did as they were bidden. One, the captain Ioram, asked, “Mighty One, what shall then this ship be called, as it its now under your command?”
His leader pondered this for a moment. Then came an answer: “What name instills fear into the weak, Ioram?” The captain was silent, not knowing what his commander was getting at. “Well? Have you an answer?” the leader demanded.
“I… I know not, Master.”
“Idiot! You’re lucky that I’m here to do the thinking. I strike fear into the hearts of men. My name is the most dreaded! Therefore, that is the name it shall have!” The leader laughed wickedly. Ioram stepped back a pace, frightened. The tall, dark figure turned and boarded the ship. Still laughing, the leader commanded:
“Call it Scelestus!
Thanks! I just wrote this as the intro to a book I'm thinking about writing. Please tell me what you think (be honest but nice please!!).