The Library of Thoth, part 4

#adventure #fantasy #literature #shortstories #stories #zombies


(Read part 3 here!)

Finding myself with no other choice, I left left the Old Man, of whose name I was even uncertain, to his fate, and endeavored back to the Beach to save what I could of the Books.

By the time I reached the sands of the beach, the dark waters already stretched quite some seventeen Yards inland from the site of the wretched ship; and thus I was obliged to wade that distance and later swim to reach the rigging of the ship.

However, when I was halfway up the rigging, I perceived that the ship had called more of those beastly Things from the water; as I had feared, destroying its bodily Crew did not dispel its curse. There now stood one of their number brandishing a most fearsome Cutlass high upon the Deck.

Another stood beside him, dropping a collection of Bombs into the water at my feet, which exploded in torrents of water.

However, I had still my own cutlass tied to its faithful Rope, and this I swung with the utmost compass of my strength at the Fiends above. This succeeded in disarming the cutlass-holding Pirate (the arm, still gripping its weapon, fell into the water like a seagull shot through with a musket ball), and quite Maiming the fellow with the Bombs.

I bethought myself of the destruction that had been wrought by my carelessness—when I brought the multitude of foul Fiends upon Thoth.

Conscious of the redemption I could bring by salvaging the treasure underneath my feet—saving what was left of Thoth—my heart was filled with a passion as if drug from the ocean’s deep.

I finished my climb up the rigging to find myself confronted with more of those foul beasts, brandishing all kinds of makeshift weapons: fearsome Meat Knives, weighty Clubs, rusty Cutlasses. But this wasn’t the time for fear.

I fought valiantly. My cutlass flew like a bird around the deck. It alit first on one fiend, splitting his skull like a crisp Tomato, and then made its purchase on a next and lodged in his Breast. I yanked the blade away and a strange kind of Blood, grey and Translucent, erupted from the wound.

However, the waters still surged underneath the ship, and presently they began to flood the deck upon which I stood. Thinking of the remaining portion of the Library, I dove into the space below the stairs to salvage what I could of the Books.

I swam down those wretched stairs and through the ship’s Corridors until I reached the submerged galley. The green and brackish Water was filled with torn and floating Pages. Some leather Volumes floated in the murk. I fetched one from the water and opened it; I found its pages only filled with Mush. I tried another book, and the contents were the same. I felt as if that pulp, which had once held the writings of a Civilization, was like my own soul: all the teachings once inscribed upon it had been mashed up by cowardice and greed.

I probably would have carried on my futile search until my lungs were filled with black sea, had not I felt a hand upon my shoulder then. I turned to see a billowing white Cloud, and I thought it was some vengeful Angel come to cast me into the deep. But it swirled away to reveal a Face, and I saw that it was merely a Beard. It was the old man from the cliff, come to rescue me!

He pulled me up with a strength unbefitting such an ancient creature. Finally divested of even the will to sacrifice myself, I ended my struggle and let him pull me from the ship.


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The Library of Thoth, Part 2

#books #booty #fantasy #fiction #magic #pirates #Thoth #zombies


Read Part 1 here.

On the path away from the city, I came upon a most strange Situation: A resident of Thoth, slowly pulling a large Cart laden with many Books which he had salvaged from the Library. Checking once behind me, to make sure that neither of us were pursued, I followed him at a distance to see where his strange Errand might lead.

The lone soul ended his quest at a cove quite off from the main harbor, upon which was docked a small ship. He proceeded to lead his cart down the rickety Gangplank of the ship and began to unload the salvaged Books onto the Deck.

Feeling it safe to reveal myself, I stepped to the dock and called out a hearty “What, ho!”

The man looked up, not understanding my words but perceiving that I was not one of the wretched Marauders. I desired to beseech of him that I might join him on his voyage, and to demonstrate to him my skill as a seafarer; but before I could form any such gesture, there was a great whoosh and a crack and both of us turned to the horizon.

There, garbed in a cloak of fire and ash surely worse than the Devil’s itself, suspended in the sky, was the cursed Ship.

The Thothian and I, forgetting all barriers in Communication, prepared ourselves to fight. As the marauders were mostly upon the town, there were only some few soldiers left upon the ship. They descended fearsomely down the rigging to meet us on the Shore.

We fought with the combined valiance of our two Nations. I, with British courage, swung my sword and cleaved the skull of the first Savage.

The Thothian, with movements most Eloquent and Strange, like a dance around the Beach, most bewildered the two Invaders left. They loped around in a dizzy daze. He gripped one by the arm and launched him roundly in an Arc above the sea.

As he watched the first invader plunge into the sea, he turned his gaze to his Ship, as a worried Parent upon the Child it loves. His face  filled with Horror. Bolts of fire flew through the air, piercing the sails of the good Thothian’s ship. I turned my gaze to see a Band of horrid Archers firing arrows from the deck of their own ship.

Horror of horrors! But worse: I turned back to my distressed companion just in time to see the third Fiend on the shore, in fiendish burst of Clarity, thrust his sword into the back of my Companion.

He looked at me, and with eyes filled with pleading passion, seemed to entreat me to something. He gestured off the side of the ship towards his vessel, and I saw that its sails were now completely Burned. He indicated the books aboard the ruined vessel most passionately. Then I saw that his life was gone, and his eyes were as dark as those of our horrible Enemies.

The bravery of my fallen Companion somehow overtook me and allowed me to overcome my past Foolishness and Cowardice. I slew the final Monster on the shore. In a burst of passioned Strength, I threw his rotten Body up towards the Archers, and thus did knock two of them into the Sea. Then, remembering the Rope I had previously employed, I slung my sword up to the deck and did Defeat the final archer.

I saw in the flying vessel, despite its terrible Appearance, a much greater prospect for returning to Britain with the Cargo of precious Books. The fiery sails lit up my mind with an uncontrollable Ambition, and I foresaw the riches I would attain when I returned. I began to carry the books from the broken, landed ship to the damnéd skyward one.

From the deck of the Skyward ship, I descended a set of most Demonic and Rickety stairs and stacked the books below board in a kind of Galley. When I came up above board, I found more of those foul and wretched characters scaling the rigging, as if the ship had spawned them from the sea. I brandished my cutlass but it did not much ward them off. I looked above; the fiery sails were ever-billowing as if filled with some ghostly wind; and yet the ship stayed in its place.

I reached down and hooked one of the beastly creatures by a loop of his tattered tunic, and pulled him up onto the deck. I entreated him to tell me how to sail the ship. However, I saw no light of intelligence in his eyes, but only an anger surely brought from Hell; I was no more capable of communicating with him than with the Thothian. I threw him overboard and was quite satisfied with the Splash this produced below.

Possessed by a sudden Impulse, I strode to the fore of the vessel and gripped the Wheel. I found in the grain of its wood a strange Enchantment, and perceived that my mind, bound up with this Magick, could propel the ship to move upon its own accord. I made use of this power and brought the ship away from the Cove. Several Fiends still clinging to the rigging of the ship fell and streamed like ballasts into the dark waters below.

Sailing through the sky, quite away from the terrors of that night, my heart was quite filled with a Triumph that I confess did cloud my Judgment. When this Triumph passed, blown away on the cold wind, I bethought myself that no matter what the value of the portion of the Library I had saved, the burden of whatever curse clung to this wretched ship was surely heavier.

Filled with a great Shame at the thought of my ambition bringing this curse beyond the primitive city of Thoth and to my beloved Great Britain, I changed the ship’s course.

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