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The Skeleton in the Spyglass


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This is my first fanfic that I have published to the internet! It is set in the Mechanical Age, so it may contain minor spoilers of the first Myst. It makes much more sense if you have read the Mechanical Age Journal, so read that first.

The Skeleton in the Spyglass


By: Joseph


“Sssks rrrshhh†shouted the captain. “Soon my friends,â€Â


“Ssslk sshraa klshrsss†he shouted again, “We will complete the victory we started ten years ago!â€Â


Rshaka looked down the mast at the captain from the bird’s nest. The massive black sails billowed under the eternally grey sky. The armada of similarly black-sailed ships followed. There were about twenty ships in all.


Rshaka had been with the strike force ten years ago that destroyed the massive city of Oodon. The city had been a tower, rising out of the ocean like a beacon, guarded on three sides by mountain spires, now no more than small islands. The east mountain had held a guard tower. Rshaka smiled wistfully as he remembered the black ships’ refusal for peace that the guardsman waved out. He had personally shot that guard. They had destroyed the city’s foundations, and it had sunk into ruin. All that they left were the three spires.


The black ships returned now, ten years later to finish the destruction they had started.


Rshaka saw the shadows of the three islands off in the distance. “There it is,†he shouted. “Over there!†He pointed. The deck was instantly reduced to a mad shuffle to get a look.


“Wait…†reiterated Rshaka, “There’s something else,†There was a black object in the middle of the islands, surrounded by a ring. Rshaka cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted to the crew above the wind.


“It looks like they have built a fortress of some kind.â€Â


“No matter,†yelled the captain. “We will destroy it like we did a decade ago. To victoryyyy!†He threw his hands in the air, and the crew roared with bloodlust.


Rshaka signaled to the lookouts on the other ships, and soon the whole fleet was roaring with excitement.


“Ready the cannons!†The captain pulled a saber from his belt and pointed it foreword. Guns appeared alongside the ships, ready to spit fire onto the fortress. The sails flung open, caught the wind and bellied into it. The ships picked up speed until they were at a fast clip toward the fortress.


The fortress was closer now and Rshaka could see that it was vaguely gear-shaped. There was a walkway going to an island, which was retreating inside the fortress like a turtle into its shell. So there were survivors. “Not for long,†Rshaka muttered to himself and grinned wickedly. He could imagine their terror at seeing the dreaded black sails again.


The fleet spread out and surrounded the fortress. On the command of the captain, the guns launched burning pitch and clay into the air. The deadly missiles left a trail of smoke as they hurled toward their target. The crews cheered, expecting the fortress to burn easily, as the city had. Flaming pitch dripped down the side of the structure and dropped into the water, hissing and steaming. The clay simply smashed against the wall and broke, to a similar effect.


The captain’s maniacal grin dropped. “NO…!†he screamed. “Destroy it! Use the stones!†The gunners complied, launching boulder after boulder at the fortress. They simply clanged onto the indomitable wall and dropped into the unending and unyielding ocean.


“We’re out, sir†one of the gunners shouted at the captain. The captain pushed the helmsman out of the way and grabbed the wheel. “I’ll ram them through!†he frothed. The ship careened around and plowed straight into the outer ring of the fortress.


The entire ship shuddered under the impact, and suddenly the bow exploded into splinters. The entire crew was thrown violently to the deck. Rshaka screamed and flailed wildly as he toppled from the lookout. His collar caught a rung on the mast and it tightened around his throat. He gurgled, spluttered and clutched at the collar, his legs thrashing in the hanged man’s dance.


The ship recoiled, and began to sink. It floated lazily, then came to rest on an underwater ridge. The captain had stood up and was screaming at the other ships to help. The others had thought that the people in the fortress had discovered a new, unstoppable weapon and were terrified of its might. The black sails of the downed ship fell slowly around the doomed crew as a death shroud. The body hung from the mast, an epitaph of their defeat.


A tall, dark haired man watched the body hang from the mast through a spyglass in the fortress. Soon, soon it would become a skeleton.

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