Chapter One-Edward meets Big Red
It started with fire.
Flames and screaming that woke up everybody on Kossier Island.They fumbled around in the dark and rushed outside to see the island next to them lit up by flames.And in the flickering light they could make out the shadows of swordsmen who ran around hacking,killing and stealing whatever they could carry. They turned to their Mayor, Edward Kossier, the only Mage in the region.
"What are we going to do? It'll be us next. They'll land here and kill every last one of us. Can't you do anything against them? Many of us may know cantrips, but you are the only one who knows real magic.You were trained in Amythest City."
"I am a Mage, but I'm not an ArchMage. We may have plenty of amythest here but I can't take them all down.You know the way these pirates work. I might be able to take a few of them down, but then every single pirate in the area would turn up here and kill me and everybody else, and rape the women as well.That's what they did to the last island that resisted them. And going to the Company would be no help. First they are a three months sail from here.Three months in the hell of the sea, far from land, where anything could happen. Sea Spiders, Sirens, the Silver Fleet, and I've only just begun to list the dangers."
"And the Company would only help us if we let slip the secret of the amythest under our feet.And then they'ed come all right, and drive the pirates away, only they would drive us away too and take our island for themselves. I think we should make an arrangement to pay them tribute once a month as long as they leave us alone. It's in their own interest not to bleed us dry."
A six year old child, a little brown haired girl, stared up at Edward and said
"Let's get Big Red to help us."
"Big Red? He's a Kraken. If he thinks of us at all it's as a tasty snack. Why do you think a Kraken would have any interest in helping the people of a small island? What would be in it for him?"
The little girl spoke one word. "Amythest."
As the sun rose the islanders stared across at the island next to them. Where once there was a little village, a village where many people of Kossier Island had met girlfriends from in the past, there was a ruin, a jumble of burnt-out houses, holed fishing boats, and bodies. Bodies with the limbs and the heads hacked off.Dead women with oars sticking out from between their legs.Even the small children had been cut into pieces and the soft sands were reddish-brown with their blood. All that remained intact was the village flagpole,and a black skull and crossbones flag, the skull with fins upon it, flapped from the top of it.
"Regulators," said Edward, and an anger grew in him that innocent people were targeted in this way. He remembered a potion that he had been distilling for months, a potion that if it worked, would enable him to speak with Krakens.He went and brought it from his house, the only house that was more then a single roomed hut, got into his boat and started rowing towards the area of sea where, as long as anybody in the village could remember, lived the horror known as Big Red. He stopped, drank the potion and rowed on.
With a splash a great green eye the size of a cartwheel broke the surface, focused, and glared at him and his boat, and then a red tentacle as thick as his whole body came out of the water towards him. He gulped, then spoke. "Do not kill me, I mean you no harm." The pupil of the eye dilated in shock and Edward was nearly tipped from his boat,which swayed from side to side as the Kraken rose fully to the surface and opened it's big beak. "You speak my speech, little wizard. I have to admit I'm impressed. Why are you here?"
"I seek your help from Regulators."
The Kraken changed colour to a deep black.
They never harmed me, nor would they dare. Why should I care what happens to humans. It is beneath me to get involved.
Edward held up a fist sized lump of amythest in front of the Kraken's eyes, which dilated again at the sight of it.Then he dropped the amythest into the water."I read a legend of a Kraken that could cast magic, and if one can, they all can. All they need is what humans need, amythest. You may be a King of the Seas, but you cannot mine amythest from the land, or even reach it.Deal with the pirates and I will give you a boatful.I promise I won't let you down."
"If you are lying, I'll sink every boat that tries to leave this island. You have a deal, little wizard. When the pirates come, I will be ready."
And with those words the Kraken sunk below the waves leaving not a trace that it had ever been there. Edward turned and rowed hard as quickly as he could.
And deep below the waves the Kraken's great eyes found the amythest and it gently picked it up from the rocky sea floor with one of the large white suckers on it's tentacles, and played with it and tossed it from tentacle to tentacle.It changed colour to a pure white, it's way of smiling, for it knew that it held a tiny piece of power in it's suckers.