Heart in his throat, Alibaba carefully took off his shoes and settled them on his cloak. He’d picked up a little ship-handling over the past week, but not enough to help. The best thing he could do was stay out of the way. And be ready to swim for it, when the whale finally caught them.
So much for coming into Balbadd rich. Oh well. Terrifyingly come, easy go?
And he knew he was trying to laugh to keep his brain from freezing in mortal terror. Even the biggest monsters in Amon’s dungeon hadn’t been that big.
I don’t want to die here!
And… that was an odd twitch in his mind. Like words, caught on the tip of his tongue.
‘Sacred servant of austerity and decorum, I command thee and thy brethren….’
No! Not now! Alibaba thought frantically, lips clamped closed. I can’t do anything weird now! Not while we’re all- oh hell!
The island had just crunched over what was left of the small boat, bits of wood flying from the waves. Part of what had seemed a beach lifted, water-washed boulders opening to reveal eyes the size of a man. The lure-tentacles writhed completely out of human form, snapping at the Shadow’s railings with razor tips.
One redheaded crewman was snagged by the arm, and dragged over with barely a shriek.
Alibaba cleared the railing, poised to hit the water… and realized yes, that was water coming up at him, and this was a terrible idea.
If I live, this is going to hurt.
He hit the waves, holding his breath as the water shocked skin and ears. Chadli, that was the crewman’s name; he’d traded part of a meal and a couple Balbadd jokes with the man, he wasn’t going to let something eat him without a fight-
Knife pulled, Alibaba swam for the struggling knot of man and tentacle. Blood and bubbles of air strewed the water; not much of either, but if he didn’t do something fast-
Steel slashed out, and the water was suddenly hot.