Thunder cracked with a sound like the world splitting, urging the ship up a wave that seemed to reach the lightning filled clouds. The sea and sky were locked into a churning wall of rain and sleet that beat every surface. Sea ice thudded and split against the surging bow, sending boulder sized pieces pinwheeling and bouncing down the length of the deck. Water roared over the rails coating everything in a crystalline glaze.
Thunder cracked with a sound like the world splitting, urging the ship up a wave that seemed to reach the lightning filled clouds. Sea and sky locked in a churning wall of water hiding the horizon. Rain and sleet
beat down, flowing like a waterfall. poured down in vast streams as if the ocean itself had been upended. The surging bow split wagon-sized floes of ice, sending chunks caroming down the length of the ship. Finally, when it seemed the rising ship would flip onto its back like a dying creature, it crested the wave. The sudden forward tilt caused the ice and water piled aft to race towards the bow; an icy avalanche scouring the deck and pummeling everything in its path. The shift in mass caused the ship to lurch recklessly into the trough, the gaping jaws of the figurehead seeming to scream in the madness of the dive as water and ice sprayed out with explosive force on either side of it.
Finally, when it seemed the rising ship would flip onto its back like a dying creature, it crested the wave and hung. Weightless. Then it tilted forward, causing the ice and water piled aft to race towards the bow. An icy avalanche scouring the deck and pummeling everything in its path. The ship lurched into the trough with the gaping jaws of the figurehead seeming to scream in the madness of the dive.
In the midst of this maelstrom a shape began to move.
The ice coating the oilskin cloth cracked and was whipped away by the storm as the old man nestled within shifted
on the shielded chair. He had tied himself to the chair, and wore layers of warm protective clothing, but still felt battered. He gazed at the rush of the approaching sea as the ship plunged downwards. He evinced no fear and tilted his head to the sky to observe the furious effects of the Felwind. He imagined the Wanderer’s passage above the storm, intensifying it and the cold. Not for the first time he worried at the failing of the ancient safeguards. His thoughts churned like the sea, full of the passage of years and the uncertain path that lay before him.
I was called and set apart against these very days, yet the years passed and I hoped they would not come. He considered the twin cargoes of despair and hope riding in the bowels of the ship, and reluctantly turned his head to gaze at the huge malformed tentacle pinned to the deck by Natan’s spear and layers of ice.
So much suffering and death… he sighed, the heart-weary sigh of one with an impossible burden, and pulled the coverings tighter. At least I can prepare them. And with that, he settled into the dark, assaulted by wind and ice and savage seas, just another flickering shadow on the racing ship.