((Wiggy Undertone’s private journal. Feel free to comment.))
Tuesday, The second of November.
Today marks the first sight of a kraken I have witnessed since I set sail aboard the vessel named Ligeia, and but for the most fortunate turn of events, it would have been my last day.
Before I spin that yarn, I shall pen a brief summary of the past week’s events, as I have been most lax in attending to my journal.
I set sail aboard the Ligeia with the greatest ignorance of all things kraken. With what I have
learned since the docks of Port Babbage slipped over the horizon, I would most certainly never have set foot aboard this vessel. I shall list the most egregious lessons:
First – The Ligeia will not return to port until her hold is filled with kraken oil. This journey will take four or five months at best, or five or more years at worst.
Second – My share of the earnings is one three-fiftieth of the take. I wrongly had assumed this to be one three-fiftieth of the total profit. In truth, the captain gets a fifth, the owners get two fifths, the officers split
a fifth, and of the final fifth, the crew splits according to each share. I shall receive a paltry three-fiftieth of the crew’s fifth. To further diminish my meager earnings, all of my expenses that I incur while aboard, that is to say all of my meals, the equipment I need, even the rum I drink, shall be deducted from my share before I am paid. It is possible if the take is poor that I shall owe the ship at the journey’s end!
Third – Life aboard a kraken hunter is boring at best, and terrifying at worst.
For the first few days, we sailed east-south-east with a
favoring wind. Blue skies and mild temperatures kept our spirits up, but no sign of kraken was found either in the air or on the sea’s surface. Over the next two days the skies clouded, the wind increased, and a driving rain began to fall. We triple reefed the main and struck all other sails, and rigged a try-sail on the mizzen. Soon the winds were blowing ferociously. 50
knots or maybe more! The waves became mountains of water and spray filled the air.
The captain had us heave to as best as we were able, and with the bow at a slight angle to the onslaught, we pitched and rolled as the Ligeia climbed the face of each wave in turn and then slid down the wave’s backside. Thrice the helmsman was dashed to the deck as the tiller was shoved by the power of the waves, even though the tiller was lashed on both sides with only a small amount of play for steering. We manned the pumps and waited for the storm to slacken.
After a day and a half of miserable weather, with the mainsail ripped and every stitch of clothing soaked, the worst of the storm
passed. We were hoisting a new mainsail when the beast struck!
The entire vessel shuddered as if we struck a bar, and the rigging groaned as if the shrouds were on the verge of parting. A scream from a crewman sent all of us running aft, and there I saw it! A great kraken attacked from below, it’s many
long arms sweeping the deck and grabbing everything the spiny tentacles
touched. Horrified, I witnessed one man in the grip of the beast’s arm being hoisted over the rail, and disappearing from sight below the waves. The arms grabbed man, barrel, and rigging alike, and pulled and dragged all indiscriminately over the side. The crew was in full panic, and many fell back while others stood transfixed. The vessel would soon be wrecked if something was not done, and done quickly!
Another scream rang out, but unlike the first scream I
heard, this one was a cry filled with pure tribal rage. Tashtempa, one of the harpooners, and a tattooed heathen from the Polynesian isles, rushed forth with an axe raised above his head. Single-handed he charged the arms of the great beast, and with a mighty chop severed the tip of one of the tentacles! The monster’s reaction was quick, and the arm thrashed about in pain and was quickly withdrawn. I grabbed a harpoon off of a nearby cradle and joined Tashtempa and managed to spear another tentacle. Seeing the tentacle pegged to the deck,
Tashtempa quickly hacked through the muscular flesh, and liberated a 15 foot
length of arm from the beast. The remaining arms of the beast quickly slide back into the deep, and the monster left us alone.
In the aftermath of the attack, I have learned that four of the crew were taken overboard in the attack.
Tashtempa spoke to the captain on my behalf, and I have been assigned to one of the tiny airships as a replacement for one of the lost crew. When the kraken is sighted in the air, I shall be one of the six men, three in each airship, who shall take to the skies in an effort to bring the beast down. From what I have seen in my first
encounter, I think that Tastempa has done me no great service.
My turn at watch is near. I shall close this journal for now.