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Chapter 7: The Challenge
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Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:46 pm    Post subject: Chapter 7: The Challenge  

The Story So Far: You are Lewellyn, the son of the Merfolk King, though you have the legendary form of a Maker, with two arms and two legs, instead of a merman. With the help of the mermaid Lalomea and Lodevar the Ram King, another Maker like you, you have rebelled against your tyrant father. Your latest battle with him was interrupted by the legendary serpent Leviathan, who attacked both sides and left shortly after seeing you. You, Lodevar, and Lalomea are now on your way to the Ram King’s island, which is under attack by his enemies. Your people, the merfolk, surround the island but your father has ordered them to let the enemy ships pass.

At the end of the last chapter, you decided to try to convince Petrosian, the merfolk commander, to help the Ram King’s people. You decided to appeal to him with the fact that Leviathan fled after seeing you.

“Petrosian is the commander of the merfolk army,” you say to Lodevar. “Our only chance is to convince him to help.”

Lodevar looks at you doubtfully. “Do you think you can do that?”

“Yes!” you say, with more confidence than you feel. “I will. I have to. I mean– you see, my people are all afraid of Leviathan. What happened in the battle, the way it left when it saw me – that will convince them that I’m the rightful King.”

Lodevar still looks dubious, but he nods and turns forward, saying nothing more.

And the trip continues in silence. As you expected, the small company of soldiers you call your army soon falls behind, and you signal them to come when they can. When you reach Freehome, only those in your chariot will be with you: Lodevar, Lalomea, Nelectitus, and your driver.

The sea-chariot skims quickly along the surface of the water. You’d feel more comfortable traveling underneath, but the Ram King and Nelectitus can’t breathe underwater.

Neither can I most of the time, you remind yourself with a wry smile. You absently finger your necklace of pearls. You’ve had this magic necklace less than a day, and already you feel like breathing water is your birthright.

The trip passes quickly, and soon the cliffs of Freehome loom ahead. As you round the island, you see that the battle has started. Over a hundred red-sailed Bullroar warships dot the sea like giant crabs, harried by merfolk to little effect. Six have already landed at Freehome and disgorged their contents: Bullroar soldiers, armored in heavy mail, armed with great axes, and bearing their King’s standard: the Golden Bull. Shouts sound as the Sheepheads rain down a hail of rocks and javelins on the invaders. Brave fighters, you think, but against a hundred ships they have no chance. You must stop the ships from reaching the island.

The sea here is choppy, as though there’s a disturbance below. Leviathan? You can’t see anything underneath. You’re about to leave your passsengers on the surface and dive when suddenly another chariot surfaces next to you, containing four merfolk guards and one very surprised Petrosian.

He stares at you, and then at Lodevar, and then at Lalomea. He doesn’t seem to know who to talk to. Then he finally says to you, “Good swimming, Prince Lewellyn,” he begins. “To what do I owe–”

“Never mind that!” you interrupt. “We’ve got to stop those ships!”

Petrosian’s eyes slide to Lodevar, then back to you. “Of course,” he says. “Perhaps we should discuss strategy privately–”

“No, no, I already know my father told you to let them pass. So does Lodevar. But I’m telling you to stop them.”

Petrosian stares at you again. Then he says, “I’m sorry. As much as I would like to help any member of the royal family, your father was very clear–”

“To the deep with my father!”

Petrosian gapes. You continue: “Petrosian, my…my brother, our father is a bad King. He’s a tyrant and he has turned the sea into a place of fear. I’m rebelling against him, and I’m asking you to join me.”

Petrosian blinks in astonishment, is silent for a moment, then finally bursts out laughing. He motions to his guards, who had been listening nervously, and they start laughing too. This isn’t going well, you think.

“I’m serious, Petrosian.”

He stops laughing. “You can’t be.”

“I am. Think about it, Petrosian. You’ve always given it all to Father, but has he ever given you anything back?”

Petrosian smiles ironically. “No, everything was for you. This whole war was just to keep you safe.”

“Yes. Right. So, I mean– he’s taken you for granted.”

Petrosian cocks his head to the side. “But if I capture the ungrateful heir and thwart his rebellion, maybe he’ll make me his favorite.”

This is really not going well. “Look, uh, Petrosian, there’s something you should know. There was a, um, battle–”

“No, he’d probably just pat me on the head and keep the traitor as his favorite. That would be just like him. ‘Good boy, Petrosian. Guarding Lewellyn is a big job. He’s the heir, you know.’ Heir, my tail! Goddam ingrate, I say.”

“Uh, Leviathan!” you say quickly. “Leviathan was there. And there was a battle between Father and me, and it came, and went away, just when I saw it, but before that Father fled. So, you see, that means I’d be the better King. That proves it.”

Petrosian shakes his head clear. “What the deep are you talking about?”

This is really really not going well. You take a deep breath. “I faced down Leviathan,” you say. “In a battle between Father and me, Leviathan came. Father fled, but I looked the Serpent in the eye, and drove it off.”

Petrosian looks at you like he doesn’t believe a word you’re saying. But then an idea spreads across his face. “Hmm,” he says. “Well, that’s quite amazing. Yes, I see, that changes everything, that means that you’re destined to be King. Well, Your Majesty, I could order the army to attack the Bullroar ships, except for one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Leviathan. The Serpent has attacked, and our army is tied up fighting it. Our harpoons cannot penetrate its armor; our war animals won’t come near it. Hundreds have died as it circles the island underwater, killing any in its path. No one can…drive it off.

“But now you’ve arrived, our future King. And, miracle of miracles, you mastered the Serpent. Well, if you faced down Leviathan before, surely you can do it again. We can bring you to the Serpent right now, and once you’ve driven it off, I’ll lead the army against the Bullroar ships, under your command.”

What have I gotten myself into? you wonder. You have no idea if you can make Leviathan leave; it’s probably more likely to swallow you. No doubt that’s what Petrosian wants – you dead and him blameless. But what choice do you have?

“All right,” you say. “Take me to it.”

Petrosian smiles and pulls his chariot next to yours. You turn to Lodevar and quickly translate what just happened. Your friends are all looking at you now; they seem to be afraid for you. Nelectitus the satyr says, “Look into the eye of the fish, and the eye looks into you.” You nod without knowing what he means.

Lalomea embraces you, wrapping her tail around your legs and giving you a kiss on the cheek. “Good swimming, Lewellyn,” she says. Your cheek feels warm where she kissed you. You hug her back.

Lodevar nods. Like one king to another, you think with a smile. “May the Makers be with you,” he says. You answer, “And with you, too.”

Then you step into Petrosian’s chariot, and it dives beneath the waves.

The story of Lewellyn is on hiatus until the next chapter of the Ram.
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evilhomer28
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Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:44 am    Post subject:  

when will this continue then? because the next chapter of the ram is already up.
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Key
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Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 1:58 pm    Post subject:  

I meant the next next chapter. ;)
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Muaddib
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Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 7:26 pm    Post subject:  

There isn't a decision for this chapter?

Whatever the case, it was another great one.
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Ravenwing
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Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:15 pm    Post subject:  

I think we have a bit of wait until the next chapter of the Ram comes. I hope it is not for too long.
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Key
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Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:58 pm    Post subject:  

Hopefully not too long. I hope to have it up this weekend.
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