|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 27||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 29 →|
The king and crew of the Drakemouth battle with a kraken from under the ice.
"Arnold, get on the lower cannons! Jenkins, I fire from the main mast! My dear Executioner, get your cowl on and hack at this beast. And somebody, anybody, get me a bloody glass of wine!" Reaver shouts orders to his men while nonchalantly firing his pistol into open suction cups that litter the kraken's tentacles. Each shot makes the creature cringe but also fight back with more force. Every man followed Reaver's orders to the letter, especially Henry who donned his cowl once more and slashed away at every bit of tentacle he could see.
He had given orders to everyone but the king, who had begun to take matters into his own hands at the first sign of danger. While Reaver shot strategically at the beast, the king took his blade and started his slashing upon the many tentacles. Tens of the large, slimy appendages surround the ship and fight off members of the crew with minds of their own. With a blade in one hand and fire in the other, the King of Albion duels with several vicious tentacles, hacking and burning at the same time against the monster. Cannons fire in unison against the encroaching beast. Rifles, pistols, and swords strike out at the order of Reaver.
In fact, Reaver is making his way back up the ropes towards the crow's nest, a pistol in one hand still firing at stray tentacles, and another arm wrapped through the ropes with a glass of wine in hand. "Come on you slimy bastard!" One long tentacle stretches upward and attempts to swat Reaver off the ropes, but Reaver fires a shot through the top of the tentacle as it flies forward, sending a bullet down the length of it. A painful howl is heard from under the water as the kraken withdraws the injured tentacle. Reaver takes this moment to climb further up the ropes.
Moments later, the kraken retaliates with more tentacles which flood into the ship through the cannon windows of the lower decks. The monster of the seas uses its strength to lift the Drakemouth out of the water several feet and drop it back onto a sheet of ice. The ship falls onto one side, leaving the masts pointing at a diagonal angle towards the sky. The impact and tilt causes Reaver to slip and spill his remaining wine down onto the ice. Reaver sighs and fires three shots madly into the water where the kraken lurks beneath.
"Mister kraken, you had me entertained but now you have made me irritated." Reaver leaps from the ropes and onto the ice into a squat. His heroic bones save him from his body shattering as he exits the squat and into his normal posture. Reaver begins walking with vigor as he reloads his favorite pistol.
As Reaver goes to challenge the foe directly, long tentacles explode out of the ice under the ship and start to attack again. Most of the crew has fallen off the side of the ship and now fight the tentacles from the ice. But Henry, the king, and a couple pirates remain on the ship for a fight. The remaining pirates onboard fire their pistols at the open suction cups, making the beast cringe in pain. Henry lops the tops off of several tentacles that try to attack him. The king slashes systematically and launches fireballs when he can. The flames burn at the tentacles and makes them curl into themselves and sink back under the ice.
Suddenly, one large tentacle rises from beneath the ice and wraps itself into a circle around the four men still on the ship. It soon begins to wrap in around itself, making the circle smaller and smaller. Henry calls to his father and the two pirates, "Get down in a circle around me…and cover your heads." The giant tentacle makes its circle tighter until it is just about ready to squeeze the four men into jam. The king and the two pirates obey Henry get into a smaller circle on the ground around him, also covering their heads as instructed. Henry braces himself and screams, he puts all of his strength into his body and swings his giant claymore, spinning in a circle at the same time. The blade carries its own momentum and follows the circle, cutting deep into the enclosing tentacle. The kraken roars and retreats its largest tentacle back into the sea, leaving a trail of blood along the way.
The kraken's blood now covers the four men, leaving the king's white pelt almost as red as his clothing. Henry's blade drips with the fowl creature's bile, he simply wipes it on one of the snow-covered bannisters. The two pirates stand bravely and leap off the lower side of the ship to continue the fight. The king stands and places a hand on his son's shoulder.
"You did well, my boy. Very well."
As if the cowl he wears defined who he was, Henry responded with, "I don't need your approval, Father. I never have, and I can continue to go on living without it."
"Don't call me Henry!!" He shouts in return. "I've never liked that name and you know it! You get to strut around the world as a Hero, taking whatever name the people see fit to call you. They call you a king, a hero, an old man! Even though you have lost the wrinkles and the beard you are still very much an old man!"
"My son what…what happened? What is this?"
"You're a Hero! But what am I, father?!" Henry drives his blade in between two boards on the deck. "When you were born…they called you a prince and gave you no name…because you were destined to be a Hero. But when I came into the world you had the gaul to give me a name! A name of royal stature that would stick with me forever as a king resting my arse on a throne! That's not what I wanted, that is never what I wanted! Up until the day mother died…all I wanted you to do was teach me…just teach me to be a Hero! But you never did!"
Teach me to be a Hero…the words resonated with the king more than they ever had. The words that he would say to Walter in their training. The words that he said to Walter as he died in his arms the day that the Darkness invaded. It was in this moment that the king realized what he needed to do. For him, for his son, and for his people. The king walked away from Henry and went to the side of the ship, preparing to jump.
"Where are you going? Don't you walk away from me!" Henry watches in fury as his father stretches his arms wide and falls forward off the side of the ship. The king falls down towards the ice head-first. He stretches his arms downward and lights them aflame, making him a burning arrow towards the ice. The flames melt the ice immediately before impact and the king sends his body into the freezing water.
With a fiery aura around him to stay warm, the king swims towards the beast beneath the ice pack. The kraken is larger than he had imagined, a hulking mass with hundreds of tentacles varrying in length from few feet long to hundreds of feet long. Several of the tentacles, including the largest which Henry sliced, float lifeless under the enormous body. A cloud of blood wraps around the kraken, still leaving a small shroud of mystery to the creature. He was about to go toe to toe with another kraken, but this time he is ready for the fight.
He lights his blade with flames that boil the water and he swims further towards the beast. As he gets very close, the king sees the kraken's eyes move to see him, and they lock on. A flurry of tentacles stretches and attacks the king, but he slices each one with his fiery blade. When the kraken gives him a small break, he takes a breath from the boiling water caused from his flames.
Two large tentacles come around and grab the king from his legs and torso. But they are met with the fiery aura that surrounds the king, charring the suction cups and causing them to retreat back. The king sees his opening and takes it, swimming furiously for the kraken's head. As he comes close, the beast opens its horrific mouth and roars. As its mouth opens, Reaver swims out from in between its teeth. He sees the king from where he is and tips his top hat which is somehow still on his head. Reaver aims and fires a shot into one of the kraken's eyes. The monster roars in pain once more, Reaver opens his hand and gestures to the king, as if saying, "Go ahead then." He then swims away and up to the surface.
As the kraken reels from the bullet in one of its eyes, the king takes his opportunity. He swims with his sword out in front of him for the other eye. Just before impact, the kraken calms and sees his approach, immediately retaliating. A tentacle grabs the king and swiftly lifts him out of the water, this time the kraken does not retreat due to the flames. The king is lifted hundreds of feet into the air above the ice. From this point he sees in all directions, he sees the vast ice pack and the shroud of snow on every side. In this split moment, he looks down and sees the Drakemouth on its side, Reaver's crew fighting against a horde of tentacles, and his son. He sees his son looking up at him, looking up to him. All he can hear is Henry's voice echoing in his mind, teach me to be a Hero.
The king slices at the tentacle and cute himself free. He is released and free falls hundreds of feet all the way towards the water. He stretches his sword out in front of him, aiming for the monster's head. He flies like a arrow once more, burning through the snowy skies as he descends rapidly towards the sea. Finally, he breaks through the water and darts towards the kraken's skull. With incredible momentum, and the fires from his soul burning his blade, he strikes the monster's skull.