The Great Beast

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The Great Beast is a book obtained while skilling at the Croesus Front nodes.

Finding and reading this book as well as A Life in Colour, The Massacrer of Moles, and Kings and Queens completes the achievement Heroes of the Graveyard which is a requirement for the master quest cape.

Book info[edit | edit source]

Transcript[edit | edit source]

The following text is transcluded from Transcript:The Great Beast.

The Great Beast

The mystery of the sea had never held any sway over her. Where others told tall tales of beautiful mermaids, sunken cities and submerged beasts the size of mountains, Ophalmi only saw what was there. She saw the water, the waves, the light reflected off the surface and the cold dark shadows of the deep. But most of all, she saw the fish. Nothing beneath the waves could hide from her gaze and fewer things still could hide from the tip of her spear or the snare of her net. She was like a goddess of the sea and she was not a benevolent deity.

Before she could write, she was the best fisher in the district. Before she had finished school, she was the best fisher in the city. By the time she came of age, she was the greatest fisher in the Empire and nothing could challenge her. But without a struggle to overcome, she grew bored. What was the point of fishing if you always caught your prey? Where was the glory in repetition? It brought material wealth, this much was true - our family delighted in the great bounties she brought in. Our status had ascended like a great tidal wave rising out of the ocean and it had dashed all competition on the rocks of her success. But Ophalmi had never been one to settle.

As the days grew longer, so too did her ennui. As catch after catch blended into one another, she sought out newer and more dangerous challenges. She moved from swordfish to sharks, from sharks to thalassi, and onwards to stranger and rarer prey. Each victory brought more wealth, but promised fewer challenges to come. Her catches grew larger and more elusive. But no matter the prey, it was never a match for her skill.

People would come to her with rumours of great sea beasts and fantastical legends. Creatures of unimaginable power, wealth or beauty. But they were nothing more than tall tales and rabid rumours, so she cast them aside. Mystery had never captivated her. Legend had never swayed her and mythology annoyed her. She sought out only what was real, only what was there to be hunted. Because of this, she first cast aside what would be her greatest catch.

It began as a rumour, as these things do. Tales of a great creature: a leviathan of the deep, that would ensnare and destroy entire vessels. Nonsense, of course. A creature that large, that powerful, was the fanciful stuff of fairy tales, not reality. For weeks the local fishermen would come to Ophalmi with stories of the great beast that destroyed entire crews. The stories grew wilder with each telling. At first it was a snake, then a dragon, then a multi-headed monstrosity, then it was the vengeful return of Loarnab itself. Wilder and wilder, each telling more ridiculous than the last. She laughed them all off. She hunted things that were real. There was no truth to these fanciful tales.

She was wrong.

It was on an autumn morning that the Church came to visit. The rain was heavy outside and the gloomy clouds cast everything in a dulled grey tone, but they stood out clearly against the backdrop. They do that, the Mahjarrat. I do not know what they said to her on that morning, save that it involved a summons to the Cathedral itself. There she received the revelation that she had been wrong. The creature was real and it was devastating the trade routes that supplied the city. They called it a leviathan, and they had chosen her to be its undoing. She accepted of course. How could she refuse the demands of the Church and the challenge that lay before her? It had been many years since I had last seen her smile so, but that grin barely left her lips in all the days ahead.

We sailed out across the waves, far from the mainland and out towards the many islands of the east. She was meticulous in her planning. The hook was forged from necronium, practically unbreakable. It had cost a fortune and required the skills of a master blacksmith, but whatever we were facing, it would hold strong. The line she made from rope enchanted by masters of ancient magic, all five elements woven into a single, implacable whole. She knew, without a doubt, that once hooked, nothing could break free. So she waited. Fishing is a battle of wills - your patience versus the endless patience of the ocean. You are not fighting against a single fish, but against the waves and the depths and the endless legions of creatures that dwell within those waters. But her resolve, like the line, would never break. Months were spent at sea preparing for a single moment, a single catch. One hook, one line and one chance. It was all she ever needed.

We were asleep when the bait was finally taken. We were awoken by a mighty force that shook the entire ship with such violence I thought the hull would shatter. The men on the ship were terrified by the strength of the beast, but she...I don't think I have ever seen her so happy. So alive.

The beast railed against the hook and sought to pull us deep beneath the waves, but she held. It tried to drag us into the shallows and dash the boat against the rocks, but she only reeled it in further. Hour by hour, the beast pulled away and she reeled it in. Both of them locked into a battle of wills that would make the gods jealous. She never wavered. Hours turned into nights, then days. Still she did not falter. She stopped not for food, nor water, nor rest, driven by a ferocious fury that would never release. I saw the beast below the waves, massive and monstrous. A multitude of eyes stared up at us with nothing but hate and madness in them. It was a thing of nightmares and it was held by little more than a hook, a line and her ferocious willpower. In the end, as it always was, her will was stronger. With a great heave the creature was brought close enough to the ship for the crew to skewer it with the harpoons. It let out a cry so horrible I will hear it in my nightmares til I die. Then, it lay still. I turned to her and watched as her grip finally released, her muscles finally relaxed and with a gentle cry of victory she slumped forward. The battle had taken everything she had. The exhaustion had sapped all the strength she had and finally her body simply gave out. She had defeated the greatest challenge of any fisher and she would never have to deal with the agony of knowing there was nothing else out there.

She was a hero. Not a soldier, nor sorcerer, but the master of the hook and net. She was given the honour of being laid to rest in the part of the graveyard that belongs to heroes, as she should be. Her legend spread across the Empire, she will always be known as 'The Catcher of the Crassian', although to me she will always be my little sister.

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