High above the ground a bird soared through the open sky, illuminated by the rising of the sun. One might have thought that this was a simple raven or annoying magpie, but this bird was neither. It was a seagull, and it was hungry for some food. Out of the corner of its eye, it saw a group of humans marching along the cliff side, but the seagull ignored them, knowing that there was no promise of food there. However the seagull did notice that there was an everincreasing crowd of birds on the beach below, ravenously tearing something apart. The seagull, deciding that it wanted to join in, started to circle down and gently landed on the golden sand next to the other birds. It then proceeded to rip out a chunk of flesh off what seemed to be a corpse, and swallowed it whole. However, as the seagull turned around, it saw that this was only one of many corpes on a beach that was almost full of bodies, broken planks of wood, barrels, and teared up sheets of sail.
Very quickly the beach became covered in a variety of wildlife. Birds, crabs, wild dogs were all busy devouring the corpses, trying their best to eat as much as possible. Out of seaside coves crawled came the kishins, four legged amphibian beasts with a tail as strong as a dolphins, growing almost as tall as a human child, ready to consume any form of meat. Even a gwoemul, a giant slimey cousin to the salamander, emerged out of the sea and started consuming corpeses whole, one by one, so that it could later on vomit it back up to feed its offspring.
However not all the bodies were dead, and those that were merely unconcious begin to come to, as their flesh was ripped off. Screams filled the air as the larger predators present began to kill those trying to resist. One man even managed to get up and started running for it, before a bunch of kishins chased him down and tore him to pieces.
Meanwhile, close by on the cliffs above a group of 20 or so humans (the very same group that the seagull had spotted) came into sight. Slouching and already out of formation, the Seaside Watch were never a troop that were easy on the eyes. Led by an old, yet well known former privateer by the name of Captain Kreigs, the Seaside Watch was comprised of men who were unlucky enough to be on the wrong side of powerful individuals. Rumour had it in the local city of Rudvain that anyone who angered a powerful individual, soon became conscripted into the Seaside Watch for at least a month if they were lucky, longer however, if not lucky.
“Halt” cried Captain Kreigs as he paused “Freud, get yar butt over here on the double. Now.”
“Yes sir……. Yes sir, I’m here” uttered a very plump man named Freud, before doubling over due to being out of breath.
“Silence in the ranks. Shut yar gasping, Freud. Now listen here, fatty” said Captain Kreigs as he grabbed Freud by the scruff of his neck “ Rumour has it that the reason ya are here is that ya’re so good at ‘listening’ to other peoples conversations. Now just a moment ago I thought I heard a scream on the wind, so I want ya to summon all the brains ya can muster and use dem real good ears of yars and try to hear if anyone is actually screaming.”
“ Yes sir” said Freud. Turning an ear into the wind, Freud closed his eyes and just stood there…And stood there, and stood there. After what seemed like an age, his lips moved as he said “Yes sir, you were right, I can hear screaming. It sounds like it’s coming from one of the beaches further along. Maybe even Scuttle Cove?”
“Aye” replied Captain Kreigs “Tis what I thought as well. Alright lads, quick march on the double. Someone might need our help down there in that damnable cove.”
Fearing the punishment they might receive for disobeying a direct order from their captain, the men of the Seaside Watch obiediently organised themselves into formation, and then followed their captain as he lead them along the cliffside. As they got closer and closer to what was known as Scuttle Cove, the screams became louder and louder, until some of the men started to shudder at raw brutality of the screams they were hearing. And as if the screams weren’t enough, the infamous beach of Scuttle Cove finally came into sight, causing one or two to even empty their stomach right then and there from the sheer brutality of the carnage below.
“All right lads. Tis time prove that ya all are men. Get ya weapons ready and follow me. If anyone of ya runs away, I’ll make sure I kill ya myself, and that’s a promise.” shouted the Captain as he drew two daggers from underneath his cloak. “Ooh and do try to find any survivors.” he said finally before marching down the path down to the beach. The Seaside Watch followed him faithfully down to the beach, even though many of them had never been in a proper fight before, while others had been in too many to count.
Once down at the beach, they spread out in a line and slowly marched forward. At first the wildlife hesistantly moved back to give them some room, but then two wild dogs raced ahead and jumped at one of the men. The man managed to spear the initial dog with his pitchfork before it got to him, but sadly wasn’t so lucky when the dog’s mate following right behind grabbed his neck between its jaws and ripped out his asophagus in the blink of an eye, leaving the man choking for air as blood pooled into his lungs. What followed was a massive blur, as the men of Seaside Watch, enraged by the brutal death of one of their own, charged the beasts. Most of the beasts immediately scattered fleeing back into their caves or off the beach, but others, not wanting to abandon such a feast of meat, fought. Swords sliced, teeth bit, spears punctured, shields fractured, and claws ripped as both man and beast fell to the ground dead. Even the monstrous slimey gwoemul, the last to be killed, swallowed a few men whole, before Captain Kreigs managed to slice through its soft head with his two daggers. And then suddenly it was over, finished almost as quickly as it had begun.
“Tiny, give me a count of our dead & injured.” ordered the Captain “And the rest of-”
“Captain Kreigs. Captain Kreigs, I found a survivor. She’s a woman!” interrupted Freud, yelling at the top of his lungs. “She’s unconcious, but she’s alive.”
“Good, good. Tis usually good luck to travel with a woman” muttered Captain Kreigs “Get someone to help ya carry her back to Rudvain, and be careful with her. We need her to talk.” Feeling at tap on his shoulder, the Captain turned around to find Tiny (his real name being Jutya, but due to only being 4 foot high most just called him Tiny) standing in front of him, or more accurately, below him.
“Captain, we lost 6 men, and we have 4 injured” squeaked Tiny
“What the blazes did ya say Tiny? Speak up man.” replied Captain Kreigs, sinking to one knee so he could hear him better.
“Captain, we lost 6 men, and we have 4 injured” squeaked Tiny once again
“Och… Tis a mighty shame. Get the men together, though, I want to talk to them”
The men gathered in circle around the bodies of their fallen comrades, standing in respectful silence until the Captain stepped forward and spoke
“Sadly we neither have the manpower to carry the bodies back to Rudvain, nor the time to give them a proper burial, as the beasts will be back. We will help carry the injured, but we leave the dead.”
“Yes sir” replied Tiny, even though no one heard him
“The living will miss the dead. Yar children will miss ya, yar friends will cry for ya, and yar lovers will grieve for ya. But when the clouds once again rain down their healing waters, then the dead shall rise up and rejoin the living.” proclaimed the Captain
“When the clouds once again rain down their healing waters, then the dead shall rise up and rejoin the living” replied the men in unison.
“When the clouds once again rain down their healing waters…….then the dead shall rise up and rejoin the living” Captain Kreigs whispered one final time as a single tear streaked down his face, before he turned around to lead his men on the long walk back to Rudvain.