Which thought reminded her of the presence of the other vessel, causing her to turn and glance at it again. "Uh, is it just me, or is that other ship a lot closer now?" she asked the others.
When Neitha looked out at the ship, however, she couldn't make out much about it... Other than the fact that she definitely saw something underneath it. It could have been a trick of the light, but from here, she could distinctly discern the water was an even darker hue beneath the ship than anywhere else in the ocean.
Kye seemed to notice it as well, as he squinted and tried to focus his tired eyes. "It is," he said, "and I dunno much about ships, but something looks fishy to me..."
Meanwhile, Rosette managed to sneak over to Kye - but this time, Katrina noticed something moving in the shadows. She couldn't make out exactly what it was, but she definitely saw something move down there. The pixie reached Kye and tried to soothe him, but she found it remarkably impossible, even for her. Worse, he started to panic again.
Kye, surprisingly, paused a moment - perhaps only because he felt Rosette's touch on his soul - before blurting, "I'm gonna - get out of this super high precarious death-wish perch now."
With that, he discreetly scooped up Rosette and deposited her carefully into his one belt pouch before he started climbing down the rigging, not waiting a second for anyone.
Stevan moved off to wake the Captain on his own, despite Rutger kicking up a fuss, ringing the ship's bell below decks and calling out for everyone to be alert.
"Ship headed straight towards us! Get to your ship positions!"
That seemed to work well enough, as in less than a second, Rutger found himself in a small stampede of crewmen, up and ready at a moment's notice. They rushed past him without a word or a glance, piling out onto the main deck and leaving Rutger there alone.
At least, he thought he was alone. It seemed at least one man was not answering the call... barring various individuals not on the ship's crew, who had gone remarkably comatose, though nothing could be done for them at the moment unless they snapped out of it on their own.
Rutger noticed the muscular Venator from the manor, Caiden, gripping the wall of the cabin as he stood by his own bedside, over his gear, his back turned to the hatch. He stood slightly hunched, his free hand clutching at his torso as he gasped for breath and clearly tried to get some kind of pain or panic under control... or else just very bad seasickness. Rutger had no way to be sure.
Everyone - or most everyone, and certainly all of the ship's crew - now appeared on the main deck, thanks to Rutger's wake-up call. Stevan and Captain Ritter emerged from her cabin, and everyone stopped to stare at the strange vessel.
But Jane wasted no time. "Everyone man your stations and arm yourselves!" she ordered as she ascended to the quarterdeck to take the wheel from Big Rob. "Prepare to be boarded!"
To herself, she muttered, "At least, I hope that'll be the worst to happen..."
The main deck became a hubbub of sailors drawing their weapons, checking the rigging, moving all loose crates and barrels into the forecastle or below decks, and joining Marcus and Sarael at the ballista to aid if needed. All the while, the ship drew ever closer, cutting through the deep black sea. Its wake shimmered in the moonlight, vast and violent, and as it drew nearer...
Everyone noticed the sails were billowing in the wrong direction. The ship wasn't using the wind to sail. Tattered as they were, they still could have caught a breeze, but something was moving the ship on its own - and moving it so fast that its sails looked like they were catching a wind inside-out.
"By Neptune," Jane murmured at the sight.
And then the ship disappeared.
All at once, and with a great crash, some unknown force sucked the ship straight underwater with an ominous creak and a gut-wrenching crash, shattering the ship and sending splinters and debris flying. What wasn't destroyed in the mighty tug was sent straight underwater and was lost.
But the glow remained. Under the disturbed ocean now less than a league from the ship, the terrible orange glow moved beneath the waves at an incredible speed... It was coming straight for them.
It emerged all at once, displacing the water around the ship so violently it was a wonder the entire vessel didn't collapse on its side - and perhaps the reason it did not was the great tendrils that erupted from the ocean to wrap around the ship. And from the sea to the Lady Amalia's left side, a massive shape arose from the water: a massive, hideous, horrific face with a gaping maw lined with teeth so huge and jagged they seemed impractical, like some kind of gargantuan anglerfish. Overhead, on the end of a long antenna, hung a burning ball emitting an eerie orange light, casting the entire ship and the water around it in its nightmarish glow.
Its beady, glassy, reflective eyes seemed to stare down at them, looking almost soulless, as sailors so frequently claimed of all fish - but they shone with hunger. The monster's night-black skin was so slick it shimmered in the dim night almost like the surface of water, reflecting the pale moonlight back at them but distorting it over its various bony ridges... and squirming tentacles.
If this creature was not demonic - which, indeed, even those with knowledge of demons and their ilk were lost to recall a creature of this description in their studies - then it certainly looked like it could be, but the depths of the ocean were sometimes said to spawn monsters that could compare even to the kin of the Underworld... or perhaps they were one and the same, but this horror was yet unknown.
Whatever the case, there was no time to be contemplating its nature. The monster's tentacles thrashed through the darkness, whipping outward and coiling around various parts of the ship - and one lashed out to snatch up a crewman. The man screamed as it wrapped around his ankle, dragging him off his feet and lifting him high up into the air - before holding him over its great maw and dropping him. The crewman's red shirt looked like a banner fluttering in the night as he plummeted into the monster's mouth. It did not actually bother using its jutting teeth to try to chew him.
The reason they found only one body amidst the wreckage of the previous ship suddenly became sickeningly apparent.
From where he stood on the main deck. Kye stared up at the monstrosity. His face went pale, his eyes went wide, and for a second, he completely froze.
"I knew something looked fishy," he murmured to himself so fast it was some odd combination of a growl and a whimper, before he turned on his heel and charged straight for the forecastle. Ignoring everything around him, he rammed his shoulder into the door, throwing it open and stopping inside. Slamming it shut, he shoved the heaviest crate in reach in front of it and then fell flat on his rear in the floor, chest heaving and sweat running down his face...
((Burgs: see PMs))
The monstrosity now held the ship aloft in its tentacles, lifting it from the water. Two larger tentacles, about the thickness of mid-sized tree trunks, were now firmly wrapped around the middle of the ship, one on either side of the main deck. The tentacles currently barred any access to or from the Captain's quarters and the forecastle.
Other, slightly smaller tentacles whipped through the air, grabbing at sailors and swatting at anyone who attempted to near the larger tentacles gripping the ship. These tendrils were somewhat slimmer, about the thickness of a man's thigh.
As for the rest of the beast, its maw - though enormous and gaping and full of spear-sized teeth - was, thankfully, not large enough to envelop the entire ship. Perhaps this was its reason for plucking its food off the vessel one by one.
While the crew ran this way and that in panic or else trying to fulfill their duties, Captain Ritter shouted from the quarterdeck, somehow managing to make herself heard even over the cacophony: "Fire the ballista at that damn thing!" she roared. "And someone start cutting these tentacles - if it doesn't let us go, it'll tear the Amalia in two!"
Stevan drew his blade and gripped it with both hands, charging for the tentacle blocking access to the Captain's cabin, as he was currently on the quarterdeck and could reach it easily - he even had a slight height advantage over it, as he stood on the stairs up to the quarterdeck. Steeling himself, the Templar began to hack at the tendril as if chopping a tree, greenish-yellow, slimy blood spurting out with each strike... but even with his great strength, it was clear it would take some time - and he could use some help, though he did not call out for it.
The monster did not seem at all disturbed by the ballista's presence as of yet, nor did it pay much heed to Stevan's attacks, as it remained focused on acquiring itself some food...
Percula had barely a moment to think about the horror she stared in the face before she felt something wrap tight around her left ankle. One of the slimmer tentacles gripped her and began to lift her into the air, upside-down, no doubt with the intention of turning her into a meal.
Another tentacle lashed out for Neitha, snaking around her midsection and yanking her up into the air. She still had one arm free, but the monster swiftly carried her toward its gaping maw.
It seemed the monster would not be satisfied until it had gorged itself on every living thing on the ship - and, afterward, the Lady Amalia would either become its next tattered lure, or simply another floating pile of debris lost at sea.
((For this boss fight, I'll be trying to narrate the dice rolls more, so that you guys know what's going on. As an example, I've worked up various dice rolls and status effects for what happened in this post. This will continue to be the case for the boss fight, although I don't plan to show details every dice roll out of such important combat.))