“Well here it is! The Tempest.” Brun said proudly, throwing his arms out at a small boat with a single white sail that was tied up on one of the posts that lined the pier, it’s name scrawled on the side in flaky lettering.
“Is that it?” Merlin asked, earning an elbow in the ribs from Arthur and a mortally offended glare from Brun.
“I’ll have you know that this vessel has been to Singapore and back!” Brun said in a matter of fact way.
“Really?” Arthur asked.
“Well…umm…no but it’s a good little ship!” Brun leapt into the boat, the murky water that sloshed around inside it splashing at his legs.
Merlin shifted the heap of rods, tackle and other fishing gear onto his back for the hundredth time and cautiously jumped into the boat. The vessel rocking violently and knocked him to his feet.
He spat out a mouthful of filthy salt water as Arthur also jumped in, swinging on a rope that hung from the mast and chuckling at his servant’s clumsiness.
When they set off the weather had not been bad in any way. It was sunny and with a light breeze for a few hours but after the shore had been swallowed up by distance the sea began to get moderately choppy and a salty spray of water would occasionally spit onto deck and hit Merlin in the eye, such was his luck.
Brun continued to ramble to them about his encounter with a pirate lord for several hours and Merlin fell asleep more than once, only to be woken by a rumble of thunder or flash of lighting. It was, however, yet to rain and Merlin, ever the optimist, didn’t let the other faults in the weather bother him.
Arthur, it seemed, did have the patience for fishing and so every time Brun appeared to be beginning a new story he would busy himself with a rod, tackle and a maggot at the far end of the ship.
“Oh, yes! There I was, swashbuckling for my life against the most fearsome pirate lord that ever sailed the high seas, Long John Copper, and winning, might I just say? Swish, swish, swish!” Brun said, holding an invisible cutlass and swiping at thin air, “He was on his knees and begging for mercy after I had finished with him! Nope, I told him, you tried to take me loot! I, Brun the fishing king, shall never let ye get away with such abominable crimes! And with that, Copper jumped off the ship and swam for his life. I’m pretty sure he became food for the fishes. He’s probably in Davy Jones’s locker as we speak, plotting his revenge. I’ll be ready. You mark my words! I’ll get him if he tries anything!” Brun blathered, re-enacting the incident with added sound affects.
Merlin and Arthur who were sitting at the stern of the boat (as far away from the odd fisherman as possible) exchanged glances. Arthur was defiantly regretting hiring ‘the fishing king’.
“Hey, Merlin.” He said, nudging Merlin with an elbow as his manservant flicked his rod into the water again.
“Why did the whale cross the road?”
“Eh?” Merlin said, puzzled.
“To get to the other tide!” Arthur guffawed, obviously finding his pun funny.
“That was dreadful.” Merlin groaned.
“Thank you. Knock, knock.”
“Do I have to?”
“Yup!” Arthur said with a mischievous grin.
“Who’s there?” Merlin sighed.
“Wayne who?” Merlin said, rolling his eyes and knowing he would regret this.
“Wayne, Wayne, go away and come again another day!” Arthur said and threw back his head; laughing and kicking the water his bare feet were dangling in, showering Merlin in salty water.
“ACHOO!” Merlin suddenly sneezed.
“Sorry, I’m allergic to bad jokes.”
“You’re gonna pay for that!” Arthur said with an accompanying chuckle and easily wrestled Merlin off the boat with a splash.
“Urm…he can swim right?” Brun said over Arthur’s shoulder.
“…Yes?” Arthur replied unsurely, peering over the side of the ship at the spot where Merlin had disappeared under the water and hoping his answer was correct.
No Merlin appeared.
“You sure about that?”
Shadowy shapes flickered and danced in the blue, grey depths, ones far larger than Merlin, as they peered down at the water.
“What is that?” Arthur said half to himself, staring at the shadowy shape.
Suddenly thousands of bubbles erupted from the water and the boat began to rock violently, throwing Arthur and Brun from side to side.
A huge beast, pale blue, thin and with ragged wings on its elongated neck rose up like a ghost from the water. It had no apparent eyes but instead its head was long and with a hooked beak in which there was a very disturbing sight.
Merlin was upside down in the creature’s jaws, his leg clamped between its scissors like beak.
The beast rose to its full height, or so Arthur imagined, shedding hundreds of water droplets that drummed onto the deck and on the two men who were petrified with shock.
“It’s a Leviathan!” Brun muffled from behind his beard and stumbled back, tripping over a bucket and falling to the floor.
Merlin struggled fiercely, pulling himself up to try and free his leg.
“No! Stay still!” Arthur yelled; regaining use of his wits and putting his hands up to the gigantic sea serpent in what he hoped was a calming manner.
Merlin obeyed and hung limply in the snake’s beak, grimacing with pain as the creature tightened its grip.
“Umm…there’s a good sea monster…” Arthur tried, sounding completely stupid and looking it.
Suddenly another blaze of lightening tore across the sky. The Leviathan started and thrashed at the air with it’s tattered wings, the force being so powerful it knocked Arthur off his feet. The creature it rose even higher into the sky, Merlin wriggling frantically in its jaws. It dove in an arc right over the ship and into the water on the other side, taking several seconds for it’s pointed tail to follow it’s long body.
“AA-“ Merlin cried and was cut off as he and the beast plunged into the waves.
“Merlin!” Arthur yelled, leaping to the other side of the ship as Brun clambered to his feet.
They stared over the side as the Leviathan’s tail disappeared. Arthur’s eyes roved over the sea for any sign of the creature or Merlin.
“Where is it?” Brun said, swallowing and leaning over the side.
The beast still did not appear.
Arthur chewed his lip.
He suddenly threw off his coat and jumped to the side of the boat, getting ready to dive, having a hallucination that maybe he could save Merlin.
“I think it’s too late, laddie.” Brun said quietly, grabbing his arm before Arthur could jump.
“What?” Arthur snapped in a harsh voice and yanked his arm free.
Suddenly, with an almighty crash, the ship was flying up, hundreds of feet into the air and the sheer quickness throwing both Arthur and Brun to the floor. And then, as abruptly as the ship had gone up, it began to fall, plummeting to the vicious sea waves below at a hundred miles an hour. It hit the water at breakneck speed and snapped right in half.
Arthur scrambled to his feet, clutching desperately onto the mast that was getting further and further away as the two halves of the ship floated apart. He had to let go and he fell back onto his half of the boat. Brun was nowhere to be seen and Merlin was gone.
Arthur was alone.
Suddenly the sea serpent flew up from beneath the waves again, towering high above Arthur. He barely had time to blink before it came crashing down on him and the remainder of the ship. The next thing he knew he was under the water and completely blind in the murky darkness and gloom of the ocean. He tried to swim up to the surface but direction was meaningless. A swishing bubbly noise could be heard and he spun around in the water, only to see a huge gaping chasm that was the leviathans jaws, open wide in an unwelcome embrace.