Year of the Great Eel
The Enclave > Seasons Long Past

Strange things come from the Unending Sea; fisherfolk are used to the unusual in their nets and on their lines. The ugliest catches are thrown back, the rest sold at market or as curios. Still, little from Farthest Sea - before or since - even begins to compare to the Great Eel, a Trespasser that appeared off the coast of Port no more than a handful of summers past.

A reclusive, aged chronicler of Vanished Isle descent dwelled in Cael at that time, past the Odanmouth on the Coast Road. He shunned the Ammander customs of sagely naming - and the Enclave sages themselves - choosing to be known as Varim the Recorder and guarding his manuscripts jealously. The sea ran in Varim's blood; he was known to sail to the rocky islets off Cael for days on end to work in isolation. When the Great Eel first began to feed upon fisherfolk in the warm seasons of that year, Varim made his last journey to Port to see for himself. By the time of his arrival, the common folk of the city were in uproar. No-one dared sail beyond the bay and provisions were becoming costly. The Great Eel was the size of the Seafarers' Guild hall, a hoary creature of scales and scallops capable of devouring a small boat whole. It lurked in the depths, only sporting on the surface at dusk as if to taunt the cityfolk.

As the leaves began to fall, the Council - in desperation - offered a splendid reward to those who could rid Port of this horrible Trespasser. Troubadors bemoaned the passing of the times of the Emerald Company, but there was no shortage of schemes once so much coin was at stake. Amongst the more memorable attempts was that made by a couragous - or greedy, or foolhardy, depending on who you wish to believe - Watch captain from Three Stones. He took a small boat and ten spears to challenge the Eel one calm evening and was quickly swallowed whole. That ended any boastful talk and foolish plans amongst spearmen in Port.

An enterprising gang of thieves pushed flaming boats out into the sea one evening to scare the Great Eel away. They roamed the dockside proclaiming their success before the last boat had even burned out - all the while, the Eel sported as the sun went down. A motley company of archers shot at the Eel from the cliffs and rocky shore, but may as well have been throwing flowers. The shouted Refutations of minor sages and devotions made to Salin and the Fisher in Darkness were similarly ineffective. Guildsmen proposed the use of catapults and other old weapons of war from the Ammand; there was much discussion and rifling of private libraries, but nothing came of it.

In the end, a few brave seafarers took the most seaworthy of the prison hulks out of the harbor to meet the Eel. For reasons that remain unclear, Varim the Recorder was amongst them. The Great Eel savaged the hulk, breaking it asunder and consuming what it could. Neither Varim nor the seafarers returned to Port, but the Eel was later seen rolling in the water in some distress. Later still it vanished back into the Unending Sea - but it was well into winter before the fisherfolk felt safe once more.

The councillors who had been reduced to offering up a vast reward were well pleased with the outcome, all told. The Eel had been vanquished and at no additional cost to their estates. In the spring of the following year, the manuscripts of Varim the Recorder found their way from Cael to the Library of Three Stones - a matter that left certain sages just as pleased as the wealthy councillors of Port.

[ Posted by Reason on January 31, 2005 ]