All the Nations of the Scorched Kingdoms have fallen on very dark times. The Sivin people may have it the worst of all. Those that have not become pirates or traders have become the slaves of those that beat them to it.
These people work either on ships or in the dark prisons until the happiness of death reaches them. The other nations don't believe in the practices, but do nothing to stop it. In these times the saying, “Better them than me”, rings throughout the world.
Sadly, this is where we meet the Seclide family. A loving man and woman who have been brought into this world to serve everyone else around them. They reside on a ship known as The Cleaver, a giant vessel that broadsides others with massive stone blades attached to the front; taking down hundreds without ever firing a cannon.
Vir and Seera met on this boat at a very young age, both born into this life knowing nothing else. As they grew, they found each other in a whole new way. Friends and protectors of each other, they eventually became family, even if in secret. Not long after, the worst thing to ever happen for them came to be.
Seera became pregnant. But no joy was felt, no happiness seen.
See, Vir was used as a lifter, all he lived for was to bring supplies and treasures to the ship. First they are castrated and are beat every morning to remember their place. This is used as training for the new crew members. Seera, being one of 3 women on the ship, is only there for one purpose, to service the crew when on the sea for months at a time. The children born from this process are used to replenish the slaves, as they kill those that last too long.
The only time these two see each other, is at the end of the night when each is thrown into the cells in the lower deck. Men and women are separated, but the two cages are just close enough to reach out to one another.
Each night looks worse than that before. Vir beaten and unable to move. Seera much worse. Their love comes from a place not known to most. They are able to lay there and feel each other’s pain. So strange that something as small as a hand can keep a person alive in the depths of hell.
They eventually would make it to words in the night, talking about the life they would have had together, always painting the most beautiful pictures. Now with their child at their side in these stories.
As the nights went on and it was more evident the baby would make it, they knew something had to be done.
The night he was born, they were docked at the Bay of those known as Boundless. Seera kept the baby hidden under her clothes, it was not yet known that she had given birth. This would bring the only opportunity they would ever get for the child. She would still be brought to the rooms of the men, but for this one night, those rooms would be on land.
She entered the room of one of the new shipmates first. He was a small man compared to those that have been working in these conditions for years. She looked around the room for anything that could be used to hit him, but at that moment the child began to cry. She quickly dropped him on the chair beside her and picked up a nearby candle. As she stabbed it into his eye, the man flew backwards screaming, falling to the floor over a small stool.
Seera rushed to pick up the now broken stool and beat it into his face to stop the screaming before others came. She just kept beating him uncontrollably, as though she was outside her body just watching in horror. The man was not only dead, but was now unrecognizable.
Seera quickly turned to grab her child and run, but just as she leaves the door swings open and two of his shipmates barge in after her. As one holds her to the bed and you hear the other give out a grunt. Then there is nothing but a thud, as he collapses to the floor. The other man turns around just in time to have his skull crushed in with a hammer.
Vir picks up the baby and they both take off as fast as possible. As they see others now gathering behind them. The two hold hands for one last moment and run in two different directions hoping to give enough time to drop the baby when not seen.
Vir runs through the bazar, knocking down anything he can find around him. As he turns a corner he sees one of the small Brinn Keeps and sprints in. He leaves the baby on a bench in the back to be found by one of the peace makers. He then takes off to hopefully lead the remaining men in another direction.
As he darts out, he sees that the men from the ship and yells to get their attention running back towards the docks. As he reaches the water, he can’t help but smile. That child might have a life, something he never was able to know and could barely fathom. With nowhere to go he simply turns around to see the men coming at him.
He knew what was about to happen, but the smile would not leave his face. He began to close his eyes and raise his arms, but at the last second saw something he could only imagine in a nightmare.
Seera was being drug back to the ship; it looked as though she had been injured badly. Vir tried to push his way through the gang of men, but had no chance of getting by.
At that moment, a cold shockwave overtook his body. Vir slowly looked down to find a sword piercing his side. His body began to lose feeling and his eyes were consumed by darkness.
He yelled out to her one last time, “I love you S…”, as his body fell backwards into the water and sunk down until it could no longer be seen.
Days pass, then weeks. Seera was beaten worse than ever before, but never allowed to die. Every night she still reached through the cell, remembering stories the two used to tell, and imagined what her son was going to look like all grown up.
The weeks became months, and the months became years. Her body no longer felt the pain, but her mind had finally shattered. This night when she drug herself to the bars, like every night before, she could no longer picture the face of Vir. There was only a shadow where he once sat.
Ten of the longest years had passed and Seera had nothing left. She had decided tomorrow would be the day she stopped fighting.
When the cells opened that morning, she jumped at the ship-hand and bit into his neck. She sprinted up the stairs, stealing a sword from one of the guards and thrusted it through his spine. In that moment she felt a blunt blow to the back of the head and then felt nothing.
Seera woke up attached to the mast of the ship with all the men around her. She had been cut up and began to bleed onto the deck. The men just laughing waiting for her eyes to finally close.
Darkness began to run across her eyes. She took this last second to remember Vir and her beautiful child, but this time she could see one of them perfectly. It seemed so real, not just a memory but an actual small boy standing before her.
Seera began to realize the darkness was consuming the ship, it was not her eyes like she had at first believed.
She could see that the men on the ship could see this boy too. They all started looking around confused, and their smiles turned to panic, just as Vir’s did on his last day.
One man runs at the child, but as he touches him, his body disintegrates right in front of the rest of the crew. Spouts of water start to rise from the sea all around the ship. Standing on each, is the same child, there must be 30 of them surrounding the ship. The men begin to run in all directions.
The child pays no attention to the craziness around him, he reaches out to touch Seera. His hand touches her and the ropes disappear. She slides down the mast and falls to the floor. She sees this boy and he is just as she had imagined, she reaches out to touch his face and finds that her hand moves right through him.
The boy puts out his hand to hold hers as she begins to fade, and this time she can feel its warmth. Seera finds the strength to look up one last time, as the child suddenly takes a shadowy form of Vir.
The shadow says, “It’s time for us to have that life we always talked about”, as her eyes close, Seera starts to smile for the first time in years.
Her body disappears with only smoke remaining where she once sat. The boy slowly rises and turns to the now frantic crew. His arms go up as each spire of water with a child on top transforms into a shadowy hydra coming from the sea below.
The boy looks up at them, his eyes glowing red with tears pouring down his face, scarring the flesh as they fall. He points at the men as the giant beasts start to swipe them from the deck one by one.
After only a few moments, only the captain remains. He is on his knees begging for forgiveness from what he believes to be the devil himself. Suddenly all of the copies of the boy are surrounding the captain. Each starts to take the form of a slave that had once been on his ship. The last two remaining on the ship took the form of Vir and Seera. The captain looks down at his hands as blood starts irrepressibly flowing from his fingers. His tears become cold as he sees blood flowing down his body from his eyes, nose, and mouth. The man pleads one last time as he falls to the ground.
Many shipwrecked men come into towns muttering about The Cleaver, saying that it comes from the shadows, and crushes all boats in its path. They say that it is a ship of the dead, with a man tied to the front, and blood flowing to the water below. Many mention a family of 3 always standing at the back of it holding hands, watching as the ships sink to the bottom of the sea.