∴ A Darkling Voyage ∴
You thought nothing could be darker than the benighted vista before you – an infinity of ink-black sea and sky, unbounded by horizon, unpierced by stars. Then you saw the ship.
Its darkness is a corporeal kin to that of the sea, drifting silent over unseen eddies. At first it is only the slightest disturbance, a hint-of lack-of nothing. Then, as your eyes strain to focus, motion takes on form: black sails, a dark wooden hull, ropes silhouetted black-on-black.
You cannot say how long you stand, knee-deep in cold water, awaiting the craft’s approach. It strikes you as unusual that such a large vessel could come so close to shore without running aground, but you push the strangeness from your mind as lantern light flares against the deck.
There, in a muted amber aura, stands the strangest sailor you’ve ever seen. Fully armed in blackened steel, a helmet obscuring his face, he calls to you – though his words are lost on the wind. Somehow, despite the darkness, you know he sees you. He calls to you. Pinpricks brush your neck.
The sailor cries out again and, reaching to his belt, draws a weapon. The steel blade flashes, a momentary beacon against the night. The sailor holds it out – not as a threat, you realise, but… an offering? A blackened web of bars gives way to a broad, curved blade. Is it familiar, or is that just fancy upon fancy?
Without quite knowing why, you wade, entranced and weaponless, toward the waiting ship. Continue reading