I still haven't fixed the tags, and I'm sick so it's not happening today.
Mouths to feed
Meafle food was disgusting.
Kal ate as he walked, spitting out half of what he put in his mouth. Some kind of seafood, or a vegetable; whatever it was it tasted nasty. Is it rotten, or do meafles like to eat crap?
The deck he was crossing was crusted with ice and very slippery. The ice formed odd formations: spikes and pillars, glistening fins and thin walls. Kal paused and examined the unnatural seeming arrangements. What could cause such shapes? It's almost as if there's some kind of aesthetic...
He continued to walk, eyeing the effulgent walls and nodes of ice. He ran his fingers along the surface of one; some of it melted onto his fingertip; greasy and sticky, it was definitely not frozen water.
Kal stopped in his tracks. He heard a clicking noise. It cut out abruptly.
He turned around and began walking briskly the way he had come. He took ten steps and walked into a thin wall of ice made invisible by the failing light.
Something slid across the air above him.
Kal whirled around, and looked up; he caught a slight glimpse of something white and furry. He dug around in his pocket and was happy to find his rubber glove. He put it on and cranked up the static caster.
He made another attempt to return in the direction he had come, but it soon became apparent that the way had changed; there were walls of ice now that had not existed before, and he quickly became turned around.
He heard the clicking noise again, and something moved at the edge of his vision. A writhing, white shape dropped from above; Kal rolled out from underneath the falling thing, and flipped the static caster's toggle. Light arched in the corridor of ice; its brightness refracted in planes and angles all around him, defining the labyrinth of frost he'd wandered into.
A white and round-bodied creature, about the size of a large melon, stood before him for an instant, pinned by the caster's bolt. A clenching, spiny cone of flesh protruded from its back, and a wattle of greasy looking skin hung from its underside.
It exploded. The caster bolt winked out of existence.
Before the light vanished Kal saw ten or twelve more of the creatures headed directly for him. Icenids, he had read about them in Kleema's Codified Natural Index.
Clikclickclikclikclcikck. They came over and through the ice.
Losing no time, Kal, turned about and ran, banging and bouncing off invisible walls. Another of the loathsome things barred his way; slashing wildly his knife; he pinned it to the deck, and won free of the swarm for a moment.
He breathed and tried to think; one thing was for certain: If he attempted to find his way out of this maze the Icenids would run him down.
They were coming again, from every direction. Kal cranked up the caster and fired at the deck; a small and smoldering gap formed in the planking. Kal knifed another icenid, and cranked the caster again; and once more; his third shot left the hole large enough. He jumped.
He fell into cold darkness. Several heartbeats in the air and-
He splashed into water, plunging deep. Cold.
He pulled himself up to the surface. Cold and soaked.
He had escaped; he laughed and looked up; round, falling silhouettes came between himself and the light.
"Bowels," he said and started to swim. A patch of dim light shone to his left; he splashed and floundered towards it. He came the source of the illumination: a breach in the hull, and pulled himself onto its ragged lip.
A wide spar poked through the break- had perhaps been the original cause of it- Kal shimmied up it and through the jagged opening and came out into the misted night. He heard splashing in the darkness behind him.
The moons were up, and the fog was less copious than usual, snow fell in large, slow flakes. The spar led Kal out over a wide patch of open water; he could see the shadowed outline of the Boneyard's continued presence bordering the lagoon like expanse he was climbing over.
The spar came to an end; he hung inches above the frosty water.
Kal pushed himself up on his hands and swiveled around. Icenids clambered down the pole: ten or more. Facing them, he dropped into a crouch and balanced on the beam, drew his knife. Clickclikcclikcclik they swarmed towards him.
The air shifted, and there was a great noise off to the left, in the center of the 'lagoon'. Everything else stopped: Kal turned his head.
A huge black shape exploded up out of the sea; runnels and streams of night dark water coursed down its flanks; over its scales. It opened a mouth large enough to have swallowed The Siren in one neat bite; teeth lined back in rows, disappearing into a black gullet.
It roared and pushed across the water. The Icenids clacked and scurried back through the breach.
Laughing, Kal raised his knife and held it up between himself and the onrushing leviathan.