The letter K from Dungeon Monsters & Tavern Tales – Kraken
Dungeon Monsters & Tavern Tales: A Gamer’s A to Z Coloring Book with Short Stories is an alphabetic menagerie of monsters. After all, why should kids have all the fun?
The Three Sheets Tavern flowed with ale the day the Augustina anchored in port. Captain Miller raised his tankard to salute his crew. “To the bravest crew ever to sail the blue! We’ve seen the worst Davy Jones can dredge from the depths and lived to tell the tale!”
The crew cheered and raised their mugs. “To Cap’n Miller!” they cried.
The men were recalling their heroic deeds when an ancient man with a pinched face, knife-sharp nose, and eyebrows like tufts of seagrass hurried into the bar with an air of excited anticipation. He wore a long robe and carried an enormous red book. “Captain Miller?” he called out.
The captain, red-faced from ale and pride, pumped the old man’s hand as if to empty the bilge. “What can I do for you, my good sir?” said the captain.
“Captain, my name is Warrick, a wizard by trade. I’ve made it my life’s work to study the monsters of the depths and I heard about your encounter. I was hoping to hear the tale.”
The crew cheered again, though a few of the locals in the bar gave a nearly inaudible groan.
“I do believe I could be prevailed upon to once more recount our adventure,” said the captain.
The wizard took a seat, opened his great book and produced pen and ink as the captain began.
“It happened two weeks ago. We were off Cape Doubtfire with clear skies, a steady wind abaft our beam, running at ten knots when we, quite literally, ran into the beast.”
Warrick nodded, scratching his pen in his book almost violently.
“First there was this thump and shudder, as if the Augustina had run aground in open ocean. Then storm clouds formed instantly out of pale blue sky. Up the thing comes, oozing onto the aft deck, ripping and tearing oak beams like twigs. Tentacles rose into the sky–”
The wizard raised his quill. “And how long would you say the tentacles were?”
“Forty feet at the least!” the captain exclaimed and the other crew members nodded.
Warrick gave an excited little gasp and applied himself to his book.
The captain continued. “It seemed as though there were a hundred sinuous limbs. We fought like lions, me with my sabre and ax, my crew with any manner of weapons.”
Here the captain shook his head sadly. “Men were seized by those snaking tentacles and stuffed into the beast’s maw, weapons and all. We battled for hours. I lost a dozen men, and nearly the Augustina as well-the creature rending it like a paper toy. Our quartermaster, well, two tentacles grabbed him at both ends and played tug o’ war. No one deserves to go out like that.” Captain Miller and the crew shuddered.
“Yes, yes, excellent,” said the wizard, scribbling excitedly in his book.
The crew grumbled and Warrick looked up at their faces.
His cheeks flushed. “I mean, tragic, of course,” he said trying to hide his enthusiasm, “I didn’t mean… well… did the creature survive?”
“My crew and I managed to kill the thing in the end,” said Miller puffing his chest. “Now tell me, Sir, have you ever heard such a tale?”
The wizard sat back in his chair. “No indeed, Captain. I’ve been studying the kraken for nigh on fifty years. I’ve learned where they live, I’ve divined their origins. Now I’m trying to discover their breeding grounds.” He closed his great book. “Captain Miller, you and your crew are the only men I’ve ever heard of to have encountered a baby kraken.”
The bar was still for a half dozen heartbeats. Then Captain Miller sloughed off his captain’s coat and handed it to his first mate. He headed for the door.
“Wait! Captain, where are you going?” called a crewman.
He paused in the doorway. “Inland,” was all he said.
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