Apr 03, 2020 7:29 PM
A skyship descends on Hekírekum
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"I'd rather keep at least a third of the crew here at all times, anyway. We'll rotate personnel so everyone gets a chance for shore leave—Casimir, you can help me draw up the shifts later." 

Jacob is preoccupied, thinking about the problem of how to get their ship off this planet and back home without access to the aetheric network. "This would have been so much easier back when I didn't have a crew..." he mutters.

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Meanwhile, Arizvam and company are politely ignoring the sailors, and resuming what they initially came to the lake for- they’ve laid out a rather pleasant picnic, with exquisitely thin slices of crisp seaweed and bread, alongside assortments of olives, seaweed-based hummus, avocados, and perfect slices of raw tuna and salmon. There’s pleasant chatter- mostly by people who aren’t Arizvam- and gossip- exchanged entirely by people who aren’t Arizvam.

(She also makes a call, via her handy little bamboo rod- not that the sailors are likely to notice.)

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Eventually, they have something resembling a plan for how they'll get the Covenant back in the air. It relies heavily on Jacob's control of the ship and Casimir's control of the air, which Cas isn't thrilled about, but it's a plan. 

"...oh, hey, Linden. You said you had good news?" 

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"It's not important." 

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... and then there was a Kraken, seeming to take shape out of the water itself.

 

It doesn’t quite take up the entire lake, even fully stretched, and the water level seems oddly undisturbed by its presence; it is nevertheless very, very large. Tentacles gently encircle the boat and slowly sway in the air; each one seems perhaps the size of a carriage.

Jacob Hyland, Jacob Hyland, Jacob Hyland,” it gurgles, its (oddly feminine) voice booming from below the clear water. “The Eightfold Orderly hath bade, within her screaming serenade, that you should ever be now bound to the Lady of the Slave. Jacob Hyland, Jacob Hyland, Jacob Hyland: I come for Jacob Hyland. He is mine: I am his. I come for Jacob Hyland.”

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What. 

What the hell is this thing and how does it know his name. Also, where did it come from, but that's a less pressing question. 

Jacob leans over the side of the ship, more for signalling purposes than because it actually makes a difference to his ability to see, hear, or talk to the creature, and asks, "Who or what the hell are you?" 

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The suction cups on its tentacles open and close, in some unnerving, unnatural imitation of a blink. It doesn’t respond.

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"Maybe it can't understand you," Casimir suggests, leaning on the rail next to Jacob. "Or can't hear you? It's underwater; maybe you should speak out of the bottom of the boat or something." 

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"Either of those seems likely to be inconvenient if I'm supposed to keep it," Jacob replies. "Your new friends didn't mention anything about this, did they?"

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Cas shakes his head. "To be fair, it probably has nothing to do with them."

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Jacob wants answers, and the Kraken seemed to explain itself just fine a minute ago.

"Can you hear me?" he shouts at it. "Speak!" 

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Jacob Hyland,” it says, obligingly. 

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Well, that's something, at least. "How do you know my name?" 

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You are mine: I am yours,” it says. 

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(The gathering on the shore is vaguely concerned- and wondering whether there was a newborn on board, or something- but Arizvam seems fairly nonchalant, and they ultimately follow her lead. Picknicking resumes.)

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"What are you? Why—how are you mine?"

The rest of the Covenant's crew aren't even pretending not to be listening in. 

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I was sent by the Eightfold Orderly, the Lady of the Slave, the Goddess of Pride,” gurgles the Kraken. “Sent by she who tends the dead, and she who tends the live.”

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'Goddess'. Well, that clears some things up at the expense of opening a whole new can of worms. 

"Why?" 

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You are alive,” it says, helpfully.

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No, that is not helpful. At all. 

"So is everyone else on this ship. Why me?" 

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You are alive,” it repeats.

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Not a productive line of questioning, apparently.

"What are you?" he tries, again, since he didn't get a satisfactory answer before. 

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The cephalopodic equivalent of blank staring ensues.

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"I wonder if it can breathe air, or if we'll have to make a tank for it when we leave." 

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"Good question. Can you breathe air?" 

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