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A note from James Northman

Happy Friday Everyone! 

Hope you're all having a great day. I thought I'd get this uploaded early for my GMT+ Readers. 

James

James walked forward purposefully as he waded into the murky waters of the Dread Lake. After a few moments, he realised that something peculiar was happening. Each footfall was meeting solid ground as though his body contained no buoyancy or lift. He was so preoccupied by the sensation that he failed to take a large breath before submerging below the surface. None of the sensations he had expected were happening. His clothes weren't heavier in the water and he was breathing?

You have returned to your Domain. Dread Lake bonuses are in effect.

"Anything like the Blessing of the Vampire God?"

James wondered out loud before catching himself in the act. He could speak clearly underwater! When he opened up the notification to investigate the effect of the bonus, the results pleasantly surprised him.

Domain Effects: (Passive)

Dread Sense: (Active)
- The Dread Pirate is immune to the psychological effects of the Dread Lake.

Sailor's Legs: (Active)
- The Dread Pirate keeps the same level of mobility as they would have on land.

Captain's Charm (Active)
- You understand the feelings and emotions of the inhabitants of the Dread Lake, and can communicate with them.

Rogue Survival (Active)
- You can sense when something in the Dread Lake wants to kill you.
- You can breathe underwater.

"Same mobility?"

James' eye widened as he immediately activated his Swift Dash skill, curious to see how it would work. A small part of him expected it would act in the same way as on land, darting him forward with a burst of speed. What actually happened was completely outside of his expectations. The moment the skill activated, his feet left the ground and his body propelled forward like a dart through the water... only, he didn't stop. His fluid environment caused him to continue forward well beyond the normal range of the skill. The momentum of his body continued to shoot him forward at high speed, and James couldn't help but gasp in surprise. He was like a bullet being shot from a gun.

"Swift Dodge!"

Testing out his ability, he found it changed his trajectory immediately. James looked down and saw that he was quite far from the sand below. Looking up, he saw he was fairly close to the surface of the Dread Lake. Another thought occurred to him, and he wanted to try it immediately. A few moments after his Swift Dash skill came off cooldown, James aimed upward in the surface's direction and activated the skill.

The momentum of the ability shot him out of the Dread Lake and up into the air. He turned around to see the shore in the distance and estimated that he was at least a mile away from it. It told him that his speed in the water very much rivalled the speed he could achieve on land.

Just as James reentered the water, a clawed hand struck out and attempted to tear at his face.

"Fuck!"

James whirled around and attempted to pull out his Charlatan's Cutlass, but the creature weaved around his body with relative ease. Lights flashed in James' vision as his sense told him, a little too late, that he was in imminent danger. His eye darted around the darkness to see if he could make out what type of creature he was dealing with, but it was no use. It completely bound his movements. It felt like a snake had curled around him and was constricting to kill him.

Swift Dodge

The restrictions disappeared as James slipped through and jetted off to one side. He whirled around with his pistol raised at the ready, but paused before firing.

Dread Naga

Health Points: 2400
Mana Points: 300
Level: 16
Rank: Standard

- Resident of the Dread Lake
- Hunts as an Individual
- Uses its powerful lower half to bind its prey before killing it with its claws.
- Incapable of being reasoned with

James blinked for a moment. He hadn't inspected the creature, or even attempted to use one of his skills. He merely looked at it and could see some of its basic stats.

The Naga slinked through the water in confusion, looking curiously at the space where James had once occupied. In that moment of hesitation or deliberation, a tiny burst of yellow illuminated the darkness.

Otto furiously attacked the Naga, first striking the arm that had cloyed at James' face. The second attack struck the Naga's tail, both strikes causing the scales of the creature to quickly erode.

The Dread Naga is angry.

"No shit."

James muttered as he holstered his pistol, Otto was making a point to this creature.

From all the research he had conducted with Jackal, he had expected to encounter at least some horrific creatures that lay in waiting. Since Otto had a role as a Ship Guardian, he gave off a protective aura that kept most creatures at bay. Only idiotic ones, or powerful ones had the confidence to attack the Dread Pirate.

James could sense which category this creature fell into.

The Dread Naga is confused.

Otto could have ended it immediately, but it looked like the tiny murder octopus wanted the Dread Naga to understand exactly what it just did wrong.

The Dread Naga is terrified.

With no hesitation, Otto continued to flash back and forth as he teleported and sped through the water. His attacks were light and furious as he tortured the larger creature.

Just when it looked like the tiny demon was about to deliver the final blow, he teleported and appeared on James' shoulder.

Otto didn't raise a tentacle, but plucked at James' collar a few times restlessly.

James stared in horror at the dying throes of the Dread Naga that was disintegrating at an alarming rate.

"Are you ready to fight the Void Kraken?"

Otto feels anxious.

James stared at the notification for a moment before his face burst into a wide smile. He didn't know if it was the intelligence he had from the Cultist Sash, or if it was because of his passive bonuses in the Dread Lake... but this was the first time he had gotten confirmation about how Otto felt. As his eye drifted across the words again, the smile quickly faded from James' face.

"Why are you anxious, Otto?"

Otto is worried that she'll kill Sylvian.

"She? Who is she?"

James pressed, amazed that he was actually having a conversation with his little friend.

Otto's erratic movements became more pronounced as his little tentacles pulled at the coat's fabric.

Mother.

James raised an eyebrow as he saw the notification, but another notification followed it straight away.

You have discovered Otto's Class Quest!

Matricide!

- Kill Mother.
- Reward: Otto gains the Kraken evolutionary path.

The Void Kraken is the undisputed ruler of the Dread Lake. She is also Otto's mother, who cast him out for being small and weak. Otto's greatest wish is to defeat her. Will you help him?

"Of course I'm going to help you!"

James reassured his little demon partner, grateful that the prompts were showing him what Otto was so concerned about. There were a few shocks in reading through the information though, like the fact that Otto could evolve! Not only that, but if they killed the Void Kraken, Otto could become a Kraken himself? It added a whole new realm of possibilities for the Dread Pirate character, and James had to admit that the prospect incredibly excited him.

The tugging at his shoulder eventually stopped, but Otto's mood didn't seem to improve that much.

"Can you bring me to where The Tempest is?"

James asked Otto, curious if he'd be able to navigate them or lead the way. From what James remembered from the first day, Otto was a Guardian. It made even more sense when James considered the floating remains of the now deceased Dread Naga. The little demon was a natural protector.

Otto floated in front of James' face before his tentacles reached out to touch the Dread Pirate's neck. Since it was Otto, James didn't panic at all, but was curious what the little creature was doing.

A moment later, James felt Otto's body press under his chin as the tentacles secured themselves around his collarbone.

"Is this a new perch of your-"

James started as Otto teleported them both.


A whirl of colours nearly blinded James as his entire body lurched with the sudden teleportation. It looked like they slipped through to a whole new realm before reappearing in the Dread Lake, in a completely different location. Instead of it being over, Otto continued to do several smaller jumps with James, bringing him deeper and deeper into the depths of the Lake. James was grateful when they stopped, as it felt like all of his senses were under attack.

The first thing that the Dread Pirate noticed was how much brighter this area of the Dread Lake was. That was the first thing. The second was the screams of anguish.

You have Discovered the Labyrinth of Lost Souls!

"That doesn't sound ominous at all, does it, Otto?"

James muttered as he swam closer to where the sounds were coming from.

His body sped forward with the activation of the Swift Dash skill, and it didn't take him long to find the source of the noise. Behind a ridge and contained within a fissure of pulsating rocks was a small ship. Something must have broken the main mast in half at some point, while the tattered remains of the sail continued to flutter with the current of the Dread Lake's waters. The most horrifying piece of the scene was the crew of the ship, all on their knees, clawing at their eyes as they screamed in perpetual torment.

When James saw the red figure at the figurehead, it suddenly made sense. Maris the Siren perched lazily at the head of the ship, watching the crew disinterestedly.

A single figure, dressed differently from the other men, stood up suddenly and charged forward at the Siren, his sword raised high.

Her red scales glimmered threateningly as she opened her blood-red lips to continue her chilling song, forcing the man to fall back to his knees... his own scream of dismay echoing that of his men.

You've discovered a new Quest!

Find the Dread Ship!

Name: Windshear
Type: Sloop
Guardian: Maris The Siren
Captain: Captain Swift
Crew Attribute: Psychic / Torment
Difficulty Rating: Master

The Windshear, trapped in the depths of the Dread Lake, is an agile craft previously helmed by the daring Captain Swift. Maris the Siren sang her song and ensnared the Captain for all eternity. Both he and the Windshear are now captives to her endless song of torment.

Just as the quest triggered, a warning light flashed for James' remaining eye. It didn't take a genius to figure out what just happened.

Maris the Siren was staring right at him.

Strangely though, the light was amber instead of red... which wasn't a colour that James had been expecting.

The Siren didn't even give her crew a passing glance as she swam towards the Dread Pirate. Maybe it was because of their previous interaction, but James didn't feel as threatened by her as he did last time.

For that reason, he didn't draw his gun or unsheathe his sword. Otto didn't move at all, which James took as a quiet confidence from the little void demon.

Maris wants to know why you're not attacking.

Before she even arrived, James received a prompt with her feelings.

The Siren gracefully glided to a stop a safe distance from the Dread Pirate. Her red eyes were curious as she appraised James' new equipment.

Maris thinks you look less weak than before.

"Thank you, Maris."

James started with a laugh which caused the Siren's eyes to widen as she darted backward.

Maris is suspicious of you.

Shaking his head, James raised his hands in what he hoped to look like a sign of peace.

"I'm not here to fight you or to hurt you, or to take the Windshear. I'm going to fight the Void Kraken."

The most hauntingly beautiful sound burst out from Maris as she laughed. Her sharp teeth glinted with malice as her eyes narrowed.

Maris doesn't believe you.

"I'm telling the truth. I'm going to take the Tempest as my ship, and we're going to kill Otto's mother."

James explained as he gestured at Otto on his shoulder. The whole exercise seemed somewhat pointless, but James was resolute. The warning light wasn't red with Maris, and she wasn't currently attacking him. It made little sense to him. James was also conscious of all the times he had exploratory chats that seemed useless, but ended up with him getting new quests or even the locket from Pedro.

He was going to be open-minded, and if that meant having a random conversation with a Siren at the bottom of the Dread Lake, then he was going to do it.

At the mention of Otto, Maris' eyes darted to the little creature, and the laugh died in her throat.

A shout of rage erupted from behind them and James looked past the Siren to see Captain Swift on his feet with his sword in hand. His head was twisting and turning in horror, looking for the demon that was causing their endless nightmare.

Rolling her eyes, Maris raised her voice and started singing her chilling song, it's haunted notes carrying across the water to plunge the Captain back into psychic hell.

Her smirk was wistful as she looked back at James.

Maris wanted to try her song on the Dread Pirate again.

James sighed. It looked like there was nothing to gain from the conversation with Maris.

"Let's go, Otto."

Maris watched as the Dread Pirate swam towards the centre of the Labyrinth with a thoughtful expression on her face.

Looking at the Windshear for a moment, she watched as the crew continued to scream.

As if making her mind up, she turned in the water and swam after the Dread Pirate... curious about what was about to happen.


Holding a hand up to his face, James shielded his remaining eye from the incredible glow that flooded the area obnoxiously. He had swum with Otto for what seemed like an age until they got to the centre of the Labyrinth. In his head, he had always imagined labyrinths to be large mazes that were impossible to escape. This... was much different. It was a graveyard for ships. He had encountered at least three of the other ships, all of which gave him quests and options to challenge them. Each of their Guardians was more fearsome than the last, yet none approached him or showed any sign of danger.

He was at a ridge that seemed to lead down into a massive cavern of tunnels. The Void Kraken was at the very bottom of the fissure. Looming threateningly with an ethereal glow.

You've discovered a new Quest!

Find the Dread Ship!

Name: The Tempest
Type: Man o' War
Guardian: The Void Kraken
Captain: Captain Wolfsbane
Crew Attribute: Cursed
Difficulty Rating: Legendary

Captain Wolfsbane spent his life hunting the Legendary Kraken. When he found it, he was unprepared for the magical mutation that had turned the beast into a much more formidable foe. It became a Void Kraken. Legends say Wolfsbane is still fighting the beast at the bottom of the Dread Lake.

Enormous tentacles that were thicker than James was tall, weaved around invitingly. Instead of rushing forward, James studied the enormous creature, waiting for the opportune moment to get to the ship.

His plan hinged on him getting to the ship. This was the greatest variable, so he didn't want to rush it.

Instead, he was going to study its pattern until he identified the safest path to getting what he wanted.

Your Intelligence is too low to Inspect the Void Kraken.

"Guess it was worth a try..."

James sighed as he looked at the trembling Otto on his shoulder.

Suddenly, the Void Kraken moved and a single tentacle vanished... only to appear on the other side of the crater.

The tentacles can teleport!

James watched as the gigantic tentacle smashed into a demonic creature that wandered too close to the crater. When the tentacle finally withdrew, the crushed remains of the creature were all that remained in the water, which told James another piece of vital information.

She can't use acid type attacks like Otto!

The Dread Pirate stood at the edge of the ridge, looking down into the crater for a while, watching the movements of the Void Kraken and taking mental notes.

Since she was curled into a tight space, she had limited mobility and her movement speed was relatively slow. If he stayed close to the tentacles, he wouldn't give her a clear shot at him.

After an age of observing her, the movement pattern revealed itself and James decided it was time to get this party started.

Just before he took a step, he noticed something peculiar.

A movement to his left caused James to turn and look along the side of the ridge, to where Maris was staring at him with a mixture of shock and confusion.

Ominous figures of varying sizes appeared along the ridge, none of them attacking each other. All they did was wait in silence.

Many of their silhouettes looked familiar. They were the Guardians of the other Ships he had passed until this point.

The Factions of the Dread Lake are watching you with interest.

James turned back to the Void Kraken and waited for the pattern to restart its sequence.

He didn't want to make a single mistake. He initially thought of sending Otto in first to distract the Void Kraken, but the little guy was practically vibrating in fear.

James was going to do this part alone.

When the tentacles shifted into a certain position, the Dread Pirate made his move and dove forward by activating Swift Dodge.

Villainous Flair has been Activated!

Maris and the Guardians of the Dread Lake watched as the Dread Pirate dove theatrically through the water, his nimble body weaving underneath the moving tentacles at tremendous speed.

A blinding red light flashed for James, indicating that there was an enemy that wanted to kill him, but he didn't care. His eyes were locked on a single spot, waiting for the most important tentacle to move and reveal his prize.

The Void Kraken teleported and weaved every available limb to attack and murder the unknown invader, but her cramped crater prohibited her from using her full power and range.

James darted further downward, avoiding every attack as he sought to get to the lake floor.

Finally, the Void Kraken released her prize and moved her body to kill the Dread Pirate... unknowingly giving James the moment he was looking for.

The Tempest!

The Legendary Ship revealed itself, and James had to do a double take when he saw it. It was colossal!

James activated Swift Dodge to change trajectory before following it up with another Swift Dash, causing him to speed towards the helm.

Tentacles teleported all around him, trying to prevent him from reaching his goal, but it was no use... he was made of dexterity and he was in his own domain.

Figures on the ship looked at him in shock as he landed on the helm and slammed his hand on the wheel of the ship.

The Quest for the Tempest is about to begin!
Defeat the ruler of the Dread Lake, the Void Kraken
Defeat Captain Wolfsbane and the Crew of the Tempest to claim it as your own!

The Void Kraken shot its tentacles forward to ensnare the ship once more, but something unexpected happened.

"Fire the Cannons!"

A growling voice bellowed from the main deck and James looked over the wheel to see an impressive figure wearing a long red officer's coat.

"We will not allow this fucker to trap us again! Give it everything we've got!"

A cacophony of shouts answered the mysterious man.

"Yes, Captain Wolfsbane!"

The fearsome Captain turned around to look James dead in the eye with a wicked grin on his face.

"Pull us the fuck up, and then I'll deal with you!"

James didn't need to be told twice as he yanked the wheel hard and found that the titan of a vessel listened to his commands with relative ease. Maybe it was a part of the quest, but the Tempest was rising and aimed towards the surface. Each time the Void Kraken snaked a tentacle forward in protest, the legendary cannons of the Tempest would smash the limbs. Looking to his shoulder, James noticed that Otto had stopped trembling.

Sails unfurled out of nowhere, draping down across the three prominent masts that lined the deck of the Man O'War. The lumbering fortress picked up speed, as though the water meant nothing to the crew or the ship. James put all logic to one side and focused on getting them up to the surface.

With the cannons keeping it away from the ship, the Void Kraken whirled its tentacles around in powerful strokes. Some tentacles teleported to speed up the process, swirling the water into a tremendous current.

"Ugh! Not again. Fire at the tentacles, stop it from creating it!"

Captain Wolfsbane roared at the crew as he pulled out a pair of swords, which he gripped in each hand.

The cannon balls fell short of the Void Kraken which only caused more fury to rip out of the Captain.

"Prepare yourselves!"

James felt an incredible force pulling the ship's wheel in the opposite direction, and the upward trajectory halted... before the Tempest lurched into the spiralling current.

"Maelstrom!"

Captain Wolfsbane shouted as he charged up to the helm where he looked at James with contempt in his face.

"Give me the wheel!"

Just as James was about to protest, Captain Wolfsbane roared to a cloaked figure on the main deck.

"Dervius' Aimpatch? Well, fuck me... Put this man on the cannons! We might just have a fucking hope!"

At the mention of the God Dervius, James made a quick decision.

Stepping to one side, he let Wolfsbane take the wheel... curious about what would happen.

The result was instantaneous.

The Tempest glided across through the current and arced upward fluidly as though it was flying.

Any doubts that James had about Wolfsbane's proficiency went out the window.

He was a Legendary Captain, and this was his ship.

James turned toward the lower deck when Wolfsbane stopped him with a question.

"What's your name?"

Turning around, James looked at the fearsome man with a grin.

"The Dread Pirate Sylvian."

Captain Wolfsbane laughed as he abruptly yanked the wheel in the opposite direction, piercing the Tempest out of the current once more and successfully launching the titan of a vessel to the surface of the Dread Lake.

The Maelstrom opened far and wide, spanning an impossible distance. At the centre was the Void Kraken, its tentacles teleporting at random from the waves to swat at the vessel. The Tempest, with Captain Wolfsbane at the helm, navigated the treacherous waters.

Defeat the ruler of the Dread Lake, the Void Kraken

"Well, Sylvian. I'm not sure if you've ever been in a maelstrom with a Void Kraken? In the centre of a lake filled with the worst horrors this world can offer? But let me tell you, from experience..."

The Captain raised his sword and roared in triumph, which caused the crew to roar in response.

"... that if you're going to take my ship and defeat me and my crew?"

Wolfsbane snorted derisively as he shook his head.

"You're going to need more than a pet octopus and a pistol."

Defeat Captain Wolfsbane and the Crew of the Tempest to claim it as your own!

James looked over the railings, past the Void Kraken and towards the shore of Rayth.

He knew one thing for sure.

This battle was going to differ greatly from his predictions with Jackal.

The Quest for the Tempest is about to begin!
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A note from James Northman

Next Chapter: A Kraken Plan is on Patreon right now, and the one after that will be on Patreon on Sunday. 

Just a warning though that if you join Patreon now, you'll get charged again at the start of February. 

Lastly, there was a big influx of 0.5 star ratings with the last chapter, and the ranking of the story has dropped into the thirties. I hope you'll let me know what you think of the chapter, and if it's not a pain in the ass, I'd appreciate if you could leave a rating if you're enjoying the story. :) 

Always love to read your comments, messages and reviews. Have a lovely weekend! 

James


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About the author

James Northman

Bio: Irishman struggling to get through the #LitRPG Tutorial Island.

Currently writing Wildcards: Book 1 - The Dread Pirate

If you'd like to support me, here's a link to my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/JamesNorthman

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