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Tales of Aeternum - The Heart of the Ocean

12 August 2022
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lore

The Heart of the Ocean—a legendary jewel that promised the wealth of princes, eternal life, and dominion over the very tides. Its location a mystery lost to time. Until now…

There was word of an ancient map. Pried from the grip of a pilgrim by some wild-eyed Spaniard, drunk off blood and several bottles of cheap rum. He couldn’t stop talking, poor fool, spilling the news of his good fortune to every sot and sailor on the dockside. And, well… you know the old adage: you never know who’s listening…

My sister and I crept aboard his vessel that evening—climbed up the rudder chain and into his cabin. There’s a lot you can do to a man to make him surrender his secrets. And by the time he talked, I’d done half. But it was Nerina that managed to break him, with a promise of mercy if he’d give up the goods.

Death was the only release on offer. With the flash of a pistol, she sent him bleeding to the floorboards, cursing her name with the breath of the dying. As the lamplight danced across the black puddle on the floor, I could see the flames of perdition blazing in her eyes.

As we sailed out of the harbor, I knew that I’d see that fire again. Secrets can only stay secret so long, and with the promise of riches there was sure to be smoke on the horizon. Every scoundrel and sea dog from here to the main was apt to come sniffing for a bite at the apple. A race for gold and glory will always turn to a struggle for survival, and if the mapping proves true, we’re sailing straight into the mouth of the abyss itself.

I can see it there, now, towering at the edge of the vast horizon. There’s no turning back – only the flashes of lightning on the storm clouds ahead, or the thunder of cannons in our wake. By now half of the crew lies broken and shattered, their blood swabbing the deck with each pitch of the sea.

We have paid a harsh price, but there is one toll yet to be paid. For the Devil is hungry, and Old Scratch must be appeased. So farewell, dear sister, I consign you at long last to the deep. After all, Hell can have only one master…

I can hear her screaming my name over the crash of the waves. And I swear this, to all the gods above and demons below: they will remember both of us. Your noble sacrifice will not be in vain.

The monstrous shape appears in the maelstrom. It rises like the biblical Leviathan. Its deafening roar drowns out even the fury of the storm.

Come then, demon of the deep, guide my black soul to my hellish reward…

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