It was not truly quiet, Jaull-fish made disgusting gurgling noises and the sapphilite sacks sloshed around as the beast made its run, but after days of waves hitting the hull of the ship and loud men yelling, singing and laughing, the fact that all he heard were those noises was… silence enough.
That, and it was almost completely dark. The only thing that allowed him to somewhat see was the sapphilite, its dull, blue light softly illuminating the Jaull’s gullet.
And that’s where Pyke found himself in.
Harpoon stuck on the fish’s throat, just far away enough from its fangs that he walked around somewhat freely, if uncomfortably. The light hummed softly, making the ghostly white razors people dared to call ‘teeth’ not unlike pillars of some unholy religion. Bah. The harpooner sat down, making himself comfortable on the maw of the fish, or as comfortable as was possible, knowing he’d be dead soon enough.
And he didn’t even have rum with him. Woe was he.
He spat in disgust, and simply sat there, knowing there was nothing to do. Murdering the Colossus was an idea. But what was the point in making such an incredible feat that none would hear of? ‘sides, those sacks were worth more than the creature’s weight tenfold. To let such a treasure go to waste at the bottom of the sea… it made him sick in the stomach.
He felt it slowly leaning down, going deeper into the ocean, probably. Whatever happened to the ship he was in, he wondered? And shrugged. It wouldn’t be his problem soon enough. Already wasn’t. And deeper the beast went.
Pyke’s breathing started to get heavy. Time passed. How long? He didn’t know. He did, however, play around a little… experimenting before his death. What was the taste of sapphilite? Absolute rotten garbage and oilier than a fresh whale. What was a Jaull-fish’s taste? Raw fish meat. He’d be dead sooner rather than later anyway… at least he wouldn’t get sick from this.
More time passed. He carved into one of many of the beast’s teeth a message. 'Pyke Almost Killed This Monster Single-handedly, Before Fate Betrayed Him!’ It was a good message. Whoever harvested this demon would know they were not the first to try their hand at it. Well, they still would be the first to succeed…
Time. He took a nap.
How deep was the ocean? He could feel that it was going deeper, swimming. He still heard noises rumbling from the depths of the beast. Surely it was alive? How would he be breathing otherwise?
Pyke considered taking the easy way out. The Harpoon’s edges were still sharp. One quick cut and…
He decided to wait things out.
He ate again and slept.
No idea how long had passed. The pressure was getting to him now, though. If he knew anything about the sea and a Jaull-fish, and he knew a lot about both, the pressure should’ve squashed him like a bug under a boot by now. But like a cruel joke by destiny, he still clung onto life.
Finally, the beast’s maw snapped open. Sweet, sweet relief. He was spat out as water filled the creature, probably trying to hunt prey. Thankfully, its colossal jaw was so large he easily swam out without getting his clothes snagged on its terrifying fangs, still confused as to why the monster would simply… open up. There were no fish big enough to satisfy the Jaull around. Probably a harpoon on its gullet did it, then. That oughta make you cringe. Maybe it was yellin’.
As the colossus disappeared behind him, swimming to only Bouros knows where, he found himself in a dark, dark place. What he could only assume was the sun, if not some Angler-sharks trying to attract their next meal, was nothing but a shimmering dot a long way up.
How was he alive in depths so oppressingly impossible such as this? He could feel his lungs pleading for air already. And as he felt himself fading… he saw a light. Deep down, a soft blue hum just as the very oil of the Jaull, but dimmed even more so. And more of them started to pop up. Like a school of fish, they came rushing out of nowhere to litter the bottom of the sea, yelling, screaming in tongues that he only understood because… because….? “Breathe!”
And amidst all those voices, one loomed louder. The voice of a woman. Stern, but motherly. Sweet, but harsh. Resonating on his head. “Swim.”
Illaoi. The Serpent Mother. Guiding Kraken. Nagakabouros. The one that gave him his life… that preached for him to always seek further adventure, to be relentless, to swim, or sink. All he had done for Bilgewater, for his crews, the beasts he slew and the captains who were reduced to beggars to hire him for his feats… he was now dying 'cuz of 'em. His lungs reaching bursting point. He couldn’t hold it in any longer…
He opened his mouth, and sank, hearing the sound of a million voices cheering, and one impossibly loud yell of pure rage. The voices yelled louder, and louder, and louder.
He opened his eyes.
He saw the bottom of the sea mere inches from his face. He could tell this was the end. Of… something. The sea, maybe. He stuck his hand out to reach it.
A tentacle grasped at him.
Dark– no, not darkness, blinding colors! Pyke yelled, water escaping his lungs as he saw the Leviathan that pulled him under the… bottom of the ocean?
The surface he saw was flat, sandy, and covered in rocks and the usual sea critters; barnacles, crabs and shrimps. A few worms. Horrible looking ones, sure, but… that had to be it. The bottom of the bin. Why was there a leviathan under there? Why was the sand so thin Pyke could easily slip through it? And worse.. oh, so terrifyingly worse.
Why were there buildings under there?
Not sunken vessels rigged to house people, as those from the Isles made did, no. Massive structures of stone Bilgewater had never seen the likes of, twisting and turning in impossible and impractical ways, with abyssal fishes so large that the streets had to be the size of islands. When Pyke tried to look up, he couldn’t see the sand he came through… and neither anything under the city, as it slowly drifted past them, revealing more and more of its impossible size. There was a disturbing lack of direction, as fishes swam upside down, the blue lights navigating with and past monsters that would drive a biologist insane.
And the music! The colors! He could only describe them as green and blue. But they were so much more. Vibrant, alive, glowing, warm, unlike any lake, river or bog. Not even the vast ocean in her might could hope to abridge such visual splendor. The music made him want to swim, swim deeper… up? Or was it the left? There was no point of direction. There didn’t even seem to be gravity pulling him up or down. There was water. And there was the city.
“Sink.” The leviathan spoke in a solemn hum which would only sound like a gurgle to anyone who wasn’t… well, who wasn’t Pyke. It snapped him out of his stunned gaze, as he turned his attention to the squid-like being.
“Drowned one. Find your purpose. For you. For us.”
It gurgled, before swimming away.
He did as he was told. What else was there to do? The music softened him. The beasts he gladly slaughtered greeted him as he floated down… up… somewhere. The blue lights hummed in Noxian, Ionian, Shuriman, Demacian… Bilgie. And he understood them all. It was surprising. But he started to get used to it. There were just… too many… everything down there. Like a whole world existed just under the sails he worked with.
And sink he did. Past the dark green rocks that made up the streets, through gaps the size of ships, still too small for any of the solemn deep monsters to pass through.
Past the Swimming city.
To the bottom of another world, where the green lights were as dim as the sun he last saw, where no blue lights wandered. And there he saw it. Or, he’s pretty sure he saw it.
A ship. A lifeline still tied to it. A massive hole was torn at its side. Skeletons. He swam closer, looking for the ship’s name…
Rusty, but the letters were still clear as day. The ship he last boarded. And he remembered the bodies that littered it. The one-handed spotter. That short skeleton… he knew those people. He swam inside, looking for one in specific. He knew who cut the line. The captain himself. And he didn’t find his body, although he did find more Golden Krakens and Serpents than even Gangplank would be able to count with his whole crew. Not that it mattered much to him… not anymore. But his blood was boiling. He was promised three krakens. There were enough inside that room to pay for all debts in Bilgewater at least twice through. He was getting scammed. He WAS set up!
His rage was quickly dulled by what he found stuck to the Captian’s chair, a terrifyingly sharp bone blade stuck to it holding.. something in place. The ship’s manifest. How much it cost, size, properties… crew members. He saw their names. Most of them crossed with red ink, but there were quite a few simply written down. Alive ones, he presumed. Some of the names, he couldn’t say he recognized. Gilbert? Kizra? Logan? They must’ve been cooks or just deckhands. No one he’d have known. But he remembered how… how many faces there were. Staring at him as the captain cut the line. So many… and none stopped him.
He grabbed the blade and looked at the Manifest again.
More names. Some already crossed.
… did… did he read it right the first time? He paid no mind to it. Was too busy putting it on his belt. Found the bones of a creature down there too. Rope. Rum. He tried drinking it, but it was hard to swallow when you already were full to the brim with water. Threw the bottle away… or well, let it float up. Tied the maws of the beast that was on the cargo around his shoulders, knowing he was the only harpooner on the ship. The only one they needed… and that the body was made with his own hook. A reminder of the past. The man they killed. His last kill as a living man.
As he swam up, away from where nothing seemed to be truly there, he stumbled once again on the drifting city, millions of dots coming up to him. They were the size of crab eggs, but with so many of them, how could one not see the wall that formed? Shining in azure hues, demanding Pyke to follow through with his thirst. Vengeance. Blood.
“Cut their lines! Cut their necks! Slice the bastards until there’s nothing left!”
Hundreds of tongues yelled, and what could the unlucky mariner do other than listen to it? Even the leviathans joined the chorus, their gurgles filling the odd city and even drowning the oddly peaceful music. “
Slash'em! Kill them! Drive hooks through their mouths! Drag them to the ocean! Make them suffer!”
He would not say no to them. The voices cheered as Pyke swam up, up towards another world, where most of the little lights came from. Drowned ones, as he came to know them. However, as he passed the threshold of one reality into the next one… the voices didn’t stop. They kept yelling. Even as he swam past Angler-Sharks, Mawlers, and Glubbers, the voices continued. Asking for murder. Vengeance. Terror betrayed him. Terror.
His captain betrayed him. The crew did nothin’. Terrified. Maybe they were paid to do nothin’. Greedy captain had enough to pay him a fair share and tossed what would be considered pocket change to that bastard. He was set up. He wasn’t gonna let it slide… not when he had a second chance.
He surfaced somewhere near the Slaughter Docks, watching the last warehouses start to close their doors and lock up.
He looked at the sky. Bright night. Few houses were missing, some were built on top of others. Quite a bit of time had passed… no matter. Couldn’t be more than a few weeks. Bilgie was weird like that.
He swam ashore and slowly walked up to a man closing his stall. Dark hair. Had a yellow jacket. Scruffy Beard. Smokin’ a pipe.
“… you a captain’?”
Pyke approached the man slowly, delighting himself in the scream of surprise from the man.
“What’s your name.”
He didn’t remember the name anymore, but it was on the Manifest. Captain, clear as day. Bastard lied to him.
Name was still crossed to this day.
Maybe he killed too many men. Wasn’t a ship big enough out there to fit the hands he cut. Maybe a ship didn’t have fifteen captains. But the voices told him of revenge. Of his purpose. And Pyke loooooved listening to them cheer as he left the poor buggers to drown, in their own blood or the sea.
He knew that most of these deaths weren’t from the Terror no more. He was gettin’ someone else’s revenge.
Didn’t matter. Life wasn’t fair. He wasn’t alive no more. Butcher’s bill came due and he would make sure someone would pay. Besides… he had 'em all written down on the manifest. Clear as day who he killed. No death was a mistake. Bastards had it comin’, one way or the other.