Adventures of the Gorguardian Chapter 1: Climactic Beginnings Part 12

Another force sent intense pain through Gorguardian's skull. She found herself on the deck for a second time. But this force had been seen. Even if her snakes weren't hissing curses, the object lying on the planks beside her was source enough.

Then she heard Cashan's voice. "So much for 'having the advantage'. Eh, beastie?"

As Gorguardian turned towards him, another object pelted her face.

"Don't even think about turning around, ye lousy trash!" thickly toned anger wavered through Siula's tone. "Didn't think we'd get more rocks aboard. Didja now? Well, screw you, Gorgy! Cause now it's our turn. We'll avenge yer foul existence by grantin' our crewmate's final words. Now; slither yer scaly hide into the drink an' make a 'heroic sacrifice'."

When Gorguardian didn't immediately obey, another rock struck her back. Codex's verminous squeak joined in. "Move it, 'hero'."

More pain rushed through Gorguardian's arm as a fourth stone struck her. Lugnaquilla's sharp tone joined the call. "Get off our ship, ye accursed banshee!"

Though her snakes spat and hollered, Gorguardian slowly got up. Well-aimed rocks bounced off the planks just millimeters behind her fingers and tail movement. Each instant that someone suspected her of possibly turning towards them or not moving "fast enough" for their demand, more stones flew at her. Some hit their marks, wrenching a soft cry from the gorgon or recoiling her movements. Each pelting forced Gorgurdian closer to the ship's port railing, stone by shout and stone again.

Even the deck beneath the snakely maiden's tail constantly swayed against her as the Chronosloop itself continued to be tossed around the waves. Gorguardian could fight back if she could get a grip on – anything at this point! But the bluntly bludgeonings denied her sliding form any leeway.

"Since ye be the big 'hero', get down there an' turn that beastie into stone!" Logan snarled.

Gorguardian hesitated and received another stone strike for it. "But I… I…"

"Yeah, hero," Hesperus joined the taunt. "Why don't ye descend to the depths an' 'win' against that monster?"

"But you… sssaid…"

Captain Second's voice suddenly boomed over the shouts as a loud thud vibrated the deck boards. "Blast it, lads!"

Those vibrations stopped the rocky assault long enough for Gorguardian to finally turn to face the crew. She was just in time to see the captain snatch a rock from Cashan's shaking hand as the sailor struggled to stay on his feet. "Ye know that we can't-"

Cashan's unarmed hand sent a firmly fisted punch across Captain Second's face. "Belay yer bellyachin', Captain. This wretch be a far worse curse on our crew than any flimsy deity. Deity be damned. I say." He rallied his fellow shipmates. "Who's with me?"

"I signed up for real treasures – not to coddle some kernels of lore!" Russell's greed glistened through his gold-toothed grin. "I say we shove the mythical overboard and go get the stuff that's WORTH our Time!"

Paws previously participant among the palm poised pelters quietly lowered and crept backwards. Their human counterparts didn't seem to notice as they cheered comradery with rock filled hands raised to the sky.

Stones had forced Gorguardian to flee her own home. She shuddered to think of them winning again! Her gaze peered around for some way to defend herself.

To little surprise, the captain wasn't so easily intimidated. He clenched his own fists. Through a venomous glare, he replied, "I'll not have mutiny aboard my vessel. If it's a brawl ye want then I'll obl-"

Exploding deck boards sent every crew member flying as a tentacle shot up through them. Rocks, rats, men and wood splinters made thunderous landings in the Chronosloop's far corners.

Something gleamed in the limb's curled clutch.

Parchment's ratly face paled as his eyes widened. "Please tell me that's not the temporal alignment stabilizer in its coil."

That scale-held gleam burst into a flash of light just before a sizzling crunch reached the group's ears. Splinters of metal clattered on what remained of the deck. Every conscious crew member cringed along with their leader. Captain Second confirmed the obvious. "Well… it was."

Thin streaks of lightning crawled along the tentacle. They extended to the deck and kept moving. Everything touched by the streaks lit up in a bright light. Still, the streaks kept spreading across the ship. Captain Second lunged for the railing closest to him. "BRACE YERSELVES, LADS!"

Multiple tentacles reached for warm bodies to brace with. Gorguardian dodged one limb's embrace and hit the deck to avoid another's cling. Her snakes cried out in panic as the lightning streaks advanced. Soon enough, the gorgon found herself leaning against the very railing which the crew had previously forced her towards. Everything now flared in light, including the many tentacles holding onto the ship.

"Jump!" her snakes commanded. Gorguardian spun around and obeyed. She hoisted herself over the port side and leapt into the crazy waters below. The snake clutch yanked itself through the waves, forcing its connected gorgon to swim quickly to avoid being painfully dragged.

She broke the water's surface again a few waves from the Chronosloop. Gasping breaths echoed twice the time of Gorguardian's own as fresh air was desperately inhaled. It left her feeling light-headed. She struggled to keep her head above water.

The waters seemed to be on her side as they flowed away from the sunbright vessel. Flickers of lightning radiated all around the silhouette. A whirring screech rose in pitch as the vessel and beast disappeared into a blaze of intense light. Gorguardian shielded her eyes. Her snakes shut theirs tightly as they clustered into a scalp hugging knot.

Suddenly, all noise abruptly stopped. Gorguardian slowly opened her eyes again. Only the wide surface of the sea greeted her sight.

Swimming these waters wasn't much of an option. Snakes and gorgon turned their gaze towards the distant shadow that they hoped to be the shore. On that shore were places full of humans. Led by Hate for all things not them, the humans would seek a monster's death – her death.

Did that direction offer any more of a choice than the open waters?

One snakely question cut into the gorgon's thoughts.

"Ssso… Isss thisss how the gods reclaim their ssstuff?"

Gorguardian spun back towards the empty space where the Chronosloop had been.

"My posss-"

A brick wind bludgeoned any worries of the waking world out of the snake-headed maiden's mind.

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Where will the waves carry our heroine next? Find out in chapter 2 of The Adventures of the Gorguardian: Monstrous Lows.

Coming… eventually! Once I've finished enough reading up on the Bronze Age Lukka Lands (Anatolia). Any relevant research source suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks for reading!