There was something pink on shore.
Alibaba closed one hand in a circle and cupped it to his eye; not nearly as good as a far-lens, but shutting out some glare could let you pick out a lot… oh. My. “Um. Last I heard, Balbadd ladies don’t swim naked, right?” Not that ladies wore a lot in the water, but more than-
That doesn’t look right.
He didn’t know what it was. Just – something about that wriggle of enticing flesh didn’t look right.
Glass glinted; Captain Aden, raising a real far-lens. And staring, face going pale.
Jahan looked between them, and didn’t even try to grab the lens. “Make sail! All speed! Signal the boat to come back! Move, you scurvy bastards!”
“It’s not real,” Aden was muttering, still pale. “It can’t be real….”
Alibaba grabbed his shoulder, and shook the man. “Forget real! Just move!” Let go and danced back, before Aden’s fist could swat him. “What is it?”
A flicker at the corner of his vision; he turned back toward the island just in time to see shapely flesh uncoil into writhing pink, whipping around one of the boatmen like an angry octopus.
“Island whale!” Jahan snarled. “Get under way, damn your salty hides!”
Island whale. Alibaba froze in place as sails boomed and frantic sailors raced over the riggings. That story, he knew. The massive hunter of the sea, that spent most of its days basking; sleeping, sometimes, to rouse when unwary sailors built a fire on its back. Or sometimes hunting, luring lonely sailors with what they wanted most. Either way, it’d sink them, then feast.
“There hasn’t been one in almost a decade!” Aden was still not back to full color, even as he shouted orders. And clenched a fist, as another tentacle smashed the small boat to flinders. “They’re supposed to be dead!”
“There hasn’t been one near Balbadd,” Jahan growled. “There’s a lot of ocean out there. Solomon, I think we know what happened to the Night Lady… more speed, damn it!”
A/N: Island whales are canonically part of the Voyages of Sinbad in the original Arabian Nights, so I felt free to throw one in here. Granted, it’s a lot more active than the lore version….