The sea is a strange and dangerous place. So many souls have sailed off into that endless blue, seeking and dreaming of something grand. But how few return, and how many lost forever. It is no surprise that sailors and whalers are a superstitious lot. The things one can see out there, far from land and any speck of civilization or sanity, it can shake any faith or understanding. From these terrified glimpses and strange encounters, tales are born and legends spread throughout the harbors like wildfire. There are many out there, but there is one the whalers know quite well...
For a whaling ship, it starts out just like any hunt. Someone catches sight of a blast of water or a darkened hide breaking the surface. The call is let out, and the crew scrambles to their positions. The eagerness and excitement that runs throughout the ship, as they dream of the bounty that is close at hand. The whaling boats are launched and the harpoons are readied. It is a catch they have never seen before, one larger than they have ever landed. Yet, who was the one who first spotted it? Who can claim the honor of sighting this grand beast? In the rush of the hunt, none even think to ask. Surely it was someone in the crew, someone else must have spotted it. But there is no time to ask, no time to realize this mystery. The whale is drawing close and will soon be in range. All the ships will be ready, and yet there is all and one more. Standing upon the main craft is one more soul, lost in the chaos, but no one pays any mind. The hunt is what matters and nothing else. Even if it were to draw to a close, they would never notice this oddity. Once the first harpoon is loosed, the crew is as it should and that unseen soul is gone. Vanished, as if they were never there. When that great whale is hooked and the ropes are set, they will think that their fortunes are made and their luck has come through. Sadly, all they have done is sealed their fate.
When the first harpoon sinks into the whale's flesh, the whaling boat and its crew are doomed. They will not know it in the moment, as they are too drunk with blood and glory as the hunt unfolds. Harpoons will be loosed, and the beast will be tethered with their ropes. The beast will fight and thrash, but it will not be able to escape their barbed spears. As it struggles, all the other boats will see their opening and attack. They too shall snare the beast with their ropes and wicked barbs. It seems like they have secured an incredible catch, but in a horrible flash, their luck shall vanish. When the last boat is tied to its hide, the whale shall spring to life and rush away, dragging all the tethered vessels with it. Swimming with strength and vigor not before seen, it pulls them along like mere toys. Desperate to finish off the beast, they may turn to their weapons and blades, hoping that its death shall free them. But no harpoon shall harm it, or even slow it. As they fight with this bizarre whale, they may fail to notice their ship fading away in the distance, vanishing into the horizon as if swallowed by the heavens. Perhaps it is when they see this missing vessel that they try to cut free, going at their ropes with knives. But no matter how much they hack and saw, the rope shall never cut. They are forever bound to this beast, helpless as their vessel is dragged out into the endless sea. Some may try to jump ship, others cling to the hope that the whale can be slain. It is up to oneself to decide which fate is kinder.
All that is known is that it appears as a great whale, one of a size that would make any whaler drool at the sight. But what hides beneath that black veil is something strange and sinister. Skin of wood and bones of iron. It is as much as a beast as the very ships that hunt it, prowling the ocean for foolish prey. Dragged alongside it is a tormented soul, perhaps the one who started this very curse. They are the one who appears on these ships, and they are the voice that beckons the crew to the hunt. Doomed to drag others to this same fate. Those pulled away by this impossible beast, dragged into a realm of ghosts and curses, become part of the very creature that claimed them. Their boats shall join its hide, and their souls will fill its heart. It is said that those who are dragged away by this spirit are consumed by the hunt, and their souls are forever trapped in this moment. Held within this warped husk, they drive and fuel it as if they were still aboard their ship. They row forever onwards, lost in a hunt that will never end.
“Fate of the Billy of Tea”
Whoa ho! Check it out! Sea shanties, right? It's everyone's favorite, all the rage! Y'all remember sea shanties, right?....Right? All over the place just about....oh, well a year ago...probably more than that... but still hip and relevant, right fellow kids?......hello?......guys?............hello?.................hey, it's cold out here!
(Edit: Just realized half of the writing was missing! Whoops!)
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