The East Wind goes missing, and a hurricane unleashes in the Bahamas.
Eurus, Eurus, where are you?
Who could steal a wind from Aeolus? The Keeper of the Winds is not easy to fool. This strange pulling at my oceans is not undone. Not yet, and we are not safe out here.
“Notus,” I call him to me gently.
The youth appears before me and kneels. He is still panting and very tired. I bid him rise as a powerful, ear-splitting shriek pierces my brain.
“Ah!” I drop to my knees now and the kid bends over me, gaping.
What in Hades was that? There it is, again and again. I can barely stand it; feels like one of Hephaestus’ unbreakable blades being driven through my skull by a Titan.
“My lord?” Notus’ fear-wracked voice rings out in the still night air. “My lord Poseidon, what is it?” He is panicked, frightened, looking everywhere around us for help.
It’s then that I realise he cannot hear it. It’s a specific curse, one meant only for me. I try to rise, but each time the shrieking sends me to my knees again, splitting my head with a pain so sharp I wish for death. At this point, I would beg for it…oooooh, the agony. Just when I think I might actually rip at my own skin, it stops. Mercifully, worryingly, ceasing without warning.
I stand, glancing around. Every part of me shakes. My skin sheens with sweat in the darkness and I am panting like I’ve lapped the Pacific. I stare as far out into the night as I can, but there is no one. Nothing; only the Arctic dark, the distant stars and the shimmer of ice on all sides.
My ship drifts unsteered now. No wind, no direction, no anchor. Floating, drifting and – thudding? Thud-thud…thud. The scream again; the curse.
“Aaarrrgghhh…” the pain is unbearable. If I could, I’d cleave my own skull.
Again, another thud, then another and another, as though we’re pushing through small ice floes, but whatever we’re ramming is softer and weighty. Like floating sacks of cargo, or – or…
I lean over the side and almost let loose my rage again. There, in the water, are bodies. Dozens – no, hundreds – of bodies; my ship is running over them. Again, again, another thump, and each time, the scream. I am prostrate on deck now, arms over my head, as I writhe in pain and fear. My heart hammers and my skull echoes. I can barely breathe.
Gods, make it stop! Send me aid! Do you hear me, Olympus? There are BODIES in my water.
A thousand questions crowd my mind. Who are they? Why are there so many? Have they died? Been killed? Murdered? Who would do this? Who could commit murder in the deep without a word of it reaching me?
I reach a shivering hand out for my trident. My fingers curl around the shaft and I gulp down my fear. Swallow my pain. Lock out my rage. Thud. Thud. Thud. Raising my trident, I call a halt, my voice barely carrying to starboard as I lie face-down on the ship’s deck. I will not drive my quest forward over dead mortals.
The anchor falls. My ship jerks to a stop. I make a slow, aching climb back to the vertical. My head swims like a hundred days of ambrosia wine, and I could split mountains with the weight of my skull right now.
“Who are they?” I murmur, and again comes the shriek that takes me to the brink. I clap my hands to my ears and grit my teeth. The answer comes, not from Notus and not from my brother. The screams are coming from the sea itself; the bodies belong to me.
“Mer!” I shout, leaning far forward to examine the floating corpses fast gathering in the water around the ship’s prow. Some are bloodied and torn. Some hacked to pieces as though victims of a frenzied attack. Some are even bitten.
Sharks? I shake my head. Not without my knowledge.
I feel – I think the mortal word is sick. Leaning over the side, I vomit into my sea. Me? Seasick? Gods, this is NOT happening!
Some of the Mer are just dead. Floating corpses in my waters. It’s a Mer graveyard. A mass killing. All are rotting and the smell alone is enough to make me weep. I will not. Tears cannot help my children now.
I shiver as mists steal over the water, blowing in off the ice. Blowing from the East. The mists swirl faster, circling my ship until I cannot see beyond. I stare out into the ice-white air, with barely the heart to wave it aside. My kin – my kids – lie dead in the water beneath me.
“Eurus,” I speak quietly now. Grief, not anger, radiating from my throat. “You were taken?”
A whisper, Eurus blowing against his brother as they reunite. Notus is relieved but he, too, is grieved and afraid.
“Yes, lord.” Eurus will not transform. It is not safe, and the ill wind raises the hairs on the back of my neck. A shiver slips down my spine. I swallow deeply, tears spilling from my eyes over the softly bumping mercorpses in the water.
“Who is it, Eurus?” I whisper.
“Who is killing my children?”
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