The Red Sapphire

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Chapter 30

Four hours came and like he’d expected the Broken pass had filled enough for the first ships to go through with ease. It was currently twilight so by the time they got to Turion they would catch them unprepared under the cover of night. The gap between the pass was only wide enough to accommodate a single ship at a time. By his estimation, it would take five minutes of sailing before they were in the lake. His ship was about twentieth in line and for some reason, they’d ground to an absolute standstill.

He heard shouting coming from above deck and he went to investigate. He grabbed one of the men who was rushing past him by the shoulder. “What is it? Why aren’t we moving?”

“We are not quite sure as yet but the unofficial report is that ten of the ships ahead have run into rocks and are taking on water.”

“That isn’t possible. There are no large boulders blocking the pass, I’d checked beforehand.” he let go of the man and went to find the Captain.

“I hear that we are having trouble with some ships?”

“Yes, but it is unlike anything that I’ve seen before. Most of our ships are made of metal. Even if they run aground they shouldn’t be sinking this quickly. Then there is that sound right before another ship crashes.”

“What sound?”

“That!” Doranand heard a low rumble like the earth was coming awake followed by the crumbling of metal and the wail of sailors. “It is coming closer now. That is eleven ships down now. Something isn’t right with this passage Admiral. I recommend we retreat and reassess.”

“Send the orders. How many ships are in the pass now?”

“About forty.”

“That means that it is going to take some time and it may be too late. Tell the men to drop the boats and head for land. Signal the other vessels that no more enter the pass.”

“Admiral,” he said bowing. He then grabbed his first mate and passed on the instructions.

Five more booms and screeches followed. The last one he got see first-hand. For a second the ship was sailing along quietly suddenly a pillar of stone shot up through the vessel skewering it in half. He went to his cabin and grabbed everything of importance before making his way towards the boat. The four boats ahead of him were of wood and he heard the crash of timber echo through the air in faster succession. If metal ships were torn in half then nothing would be left of those made of timber.

He boarded the lifeboat and was halfway down when the ship jerked. He held on to the boat as it rocked from side to side. Some of the men weren’t as lucky and fell. The pulley rope on the back suddenly went slack and the boat tilted backwards. The men on board his ship had panicked and started throwing themselves overboard.

This was an ambush, but how and the Garians know that they were coming?

His ship was sinking quickly and would drag the boat down with it. He held on with his right arm until the bottom of the boat it the water. He flung himself forward and using his sword, cut the ropes holding the lifeboat to the ship.

“Cut the other one quickly!” he said to the men who’d managed to hang on. A sandy-haired lad crawled to the back and cut them loose and the boat then fell flat on its belly. It had taken on water but not enough for them to sink.

Paddle towards the shore.” he said grabbing an oar. Three men who had made it with him obeyed. Three men from around twenty.

He climbed atop the sand bank and walked over to a vantage point to see what was happening. From what he could tell all forty boats that had entered the pass had been destroyed. The rest were safely retreating back to sea.

Another dull rumbling erupted from under their feet and the earth shook. Men that had just come on land ran back towards the water. But that was a grave mistake.

The water in the ocean seemed to retreat from the shoreline and everything in it was swept along into the deep.

The sea seemed quiet and then he noted a giant wave coming back towards land. All the ships that had escaped the trenches were lifted within its crest. He knew that should run but he couldn’t as he was paralysed by the horror that he was about to witness.

The wave hurtled towards the western shore taking all the ships with it. It moved inland until it met upon the highlands and could go no further.

A perfect ambush had been turned into a massacre, one in which his men were on the wrong end of. Over thirty thousand men lost, swallowed by strange magic or a force of nature that he couldn’t contend with.

He heard footsteps approaching from behind but didn’t turn until he heard the voice which he’d come to loathe with everything in his being.

“Lord Doranand it is odd to find you here on such an occasion as this.” it said.

He turned slowly to see Prince Milos of Garion standing before him. This was indeed the thief that had taken Aliana, but there was something off about him. He soon spotted it.

The eyes.

Night had begun fading the colours of the landscape but his eyes stood out as they glowed even brighter and pulsed with energy of the earth. Just looking at the prince he knew that he was responsible for all the damage caused.

“What are you?” he asked.

“The earth.” he said and gave him a sinister smile.

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