Taming the Depths
The krait convoy strode along the dark ocean valley as if nothing could conceivably be a danger to them. And they were not wrong. Even the large sharks and armour-fish roving through the reef were avoiding the procession, simply trying to survive the intrusion on their hunting grounds. Marazan was also trying to avoid the krait, but for a different reason; he had lost sight of his protégé. Oinula al’Fahrima had gotten word of this convoy from a group of quaggans they had met a week ago. The diminutive water-dwellers had been cornered by a band of risen when the two largos found them. As thanks, the quaggans offered food and shelter. That denied, they warned them of a large group of krait moving through the area. The mention of a religious group within the procession had drawn his young protégé’s attention. The priesthood among the krait rarely left their homelands, even after their forced relocation caused by the emergence of the dragon. So to a young largos still looking for a mark to bring home, the possible reward well outweighed the risk of stalking such a large group of the serpent-people. And as her master, Marazan was bound to follow, against his better judgement. He had said as much the day before, to which his apprentice had responded curtly. “Noted. Now help me find a campsite, the krait are stopping for the day.” The prophet at the center of the column was incredibly precious to the krait, so they stopped frequently to allow it rest. During such times the two largos would try and rest themselves, staying awake in shifts to deter the ocean life and keep an eye on the procession. In this manner they had spent most of a week, tracking the krait further and further along the reefs and rock formations of the Sea of Sorrows. Marazan reckoned they would be close to the midpoint between the shorelines to the north and the former human nation of Orr, the very same that had been underwater for hundreds of years then risen suddenly, casting all life in the Sea of Sorrows into turmoil. Something on the far side of the procession caught his attention; one of the armoured fish that lived in the reef had emerged from its hiding spot, swimming quickly towards the middle of the group of krait, heedless of the danger. Some other local predator must have taken the opportunity to remove a rival by chasing it into this new predator that had suddenly arrived in their habitat. The soldiers quickly formed a line, ready to chase it away, when the prophet raised a thin, sickly looking hand. The largest of the krait guards, a true brute of his species, lowered his weapon and leaned his head back, emanating a sound like that of a vast whale. All of the other guards lowered their weapons quickly, falling back to the processional line. The armour-fish stopped its headlong rush, turning gracefully towards the upturned hand that the prophet still held. Marazan had seen smaller armour-fish than that bite through heavy armour as though it were paper. Why had the guards stood down? Then the armour-fish nuzzled up against the hand, as though it were some pet wanting affection.