Blood Storm

The silvery light of Loran shown down upon the old man sitting on the pier. He watched his grandson, sitting beside him, fidget with the crab-lines that stretched out into the sea. Most crabbers got up early, before the break of dawn to lay their traps and came back after the first arms of morning to find a fair catch. Not old Althus, though, he knew better. The best crab came out at night. They would slip out of town before mid-night and drop their traps, then wait. It was now well into the witching hour and they were the only ones along the shore. The town of Truus was mostly dark, only a few lamps burned in windows, barely visible through the swaying grasses of sand dunes.
A few flashes of heat lightning drew his eyes out to sea. Dark clouds rolled over Vas-Morda, and the warm air was stirring. Red lightning crackled through the clouds. The wind picked up. Althus sensed something change before he noticed the tide. The waves were capping white against the black sea and the waves were rolling in upon themselves.
"Come on boy," the old man said, trying not to sound shaken. "Time we best be heading in. Looks like a storms coming."
"Alright Papa," the boy said, starting to pull the first trap in.
The sound of waves crashing upon each other was rising and the lightning in the distance was flashing in quick successions. Red lightning against a black sea, and in its light something moved.
Althus leaned over the railing, squinting. "Curse these old eyes," he muttered.
"What Papa?" but the old man didn't answer.
The red lightning flashed, and the man saw. He sucked in a breath and shuddered uncontrollably.
"What is it Papa? You look sick!"
The old man couldn't pull his eyes away but he found his voice, "Forget the lines, lad, run. Run!!"
The boy stood dumbfounded for a moment, and then he turned to look out to sea.
The waves now roiled with a thundering roar, and sprayed the pier with water. Blood red lightning shattered the night sky and a great darkness moved across the sea. A storm it was, but it moved of its own accord, swaying back and forth, writhing and heaving over the waters. From sea to sky it seemed to fill the night and rain and wind were only the edge of its wake.
The undulating force swept towards them covering the horizon and as it came upon them there was a deep red fire in its depths, a light from above that heaved with chaos. Suddenly the winds changed and the storm stood in silence, thousands of feet from the shore it raged with madness.
The old man heard his grandson's screams but he couldn't look away. There were things moving in the storm, monstrosities moving in the sea and skies. It seemed to him as if the storm was glaring directly at him. Then it came, in a gust of wind that reeked of iron and churned with water and sand it rushed over the shore. The waves rose up in a swelling mass and lifted the pier off its foundations. The wood groaned and squealed in agony as it was rent. Althus felt himself pitched forwards, his face slamming into a beam, blood bursting from his forehead. His head spun, his grandson cried out and then was silenced. In that moment the old man cried out in terror, but the sea swallowed his words and then he slammed into sand and stone and his skull was split and his brains dashed out into the dark waters that roared in madness about him.

The boy found himself clinging to a stone that rose from the sea. Around him the waters rushed over the dunes and poured into the town. Some screamed in the moment of awakening to their death but it was silenced quickly. The only sound was the rushing winds and the roaring sea. The boy stared up into the storm above him. He could feel it pelting his flesh, shredding into him. His eyes were blurred but he could clearly make tall gaunt figures, black and twisted, rising from the water. Long limbs swung at their sides, and their flesh moved like wet leather, glistening in the red lightning. One reached out a long clawed wiry hand that pulled something from the water. He saw a woman, he thought, lifted into the darkness. The creature opened a wet mass of blood soaked teeth where its mouth must have been and shoved her in. It dissected her with its mass of teeth before swallowing what remained.

Other things moved in the darkness. Some flew upon leathery wings and others slithered in and out of the water and air, as if they were one. Claws and tentacles, teeth and eyes, spindly arms and legs, all moved through the red storm, riding it in-land.

The sea withdrew, like a wave sliding back from the shore, and the wall of the storm moved on. Above him red roiling clouds twisted in the sky and lightning danced across it, and beyond, hovering beyond the horizon was a fiery red orb. At first he thought it the rising sun, but it rose in the west. The setting sun? It couldn't be…but what was it then? It seemed closer, dimmer, and bore little heat. And there was a constant sense of dread and intense rage emanating from it, like the eye of a mad man. All around it the blood storm raged.

When morning came the boy was still clinging tightly to the stone. The storm was gone, but so too was the village. He was perched upon the remains of the small temple of Memnos, clinging to the chimney above the sacrificial alter. All around him there was ruin, and what little there was of the dead were barely recognizable as ever having been people. He stared around at the beach, which was strewn with debris, the dunes scattered like a child's sand castle. Then he saw a black shape on the water, a ship, and a boat was rushing up on the tide and driving into the sand. Men jumped into the waters and pulled it up onto the beach and a nobly garbed man leapt on to the shore, long silver hair tossed in the ocean breeze. He was tanned and strong, though it was hidden beneath a billowing shirt and breaches. He crossed the sands and stood on the remains of a dune, eyes scanning the ruined village. Then in a voice thick with a strange accent he spoke in the common tongue, "It's begun."

The boy's hands lost there grip and he fell into the ruins of the temple, landing on a tattered curtain. The curtain had once separated the statue of his god from the people who attended the service. The black statue of Memnos shone in the darkness, staring down upon him with grim eyes.

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