After a few hours on the sea, the cloud bank loomed large and close, threatening them like a monster from a nightmare or, as in Tandum’s case, a nightstallion. “We’re almost there. We should be approaching the home of the Adaro,” said Kelfy.
These words just left Kelfy’s mouth when several flying fish sailed over their heads, some splashing back into the water but many landing in the boat. These were not ordinary flying fish. The fish sported a mouthful of teeth with which they were known to bite the arms and legs of sailors. They had razer-sharp fins that they used to cut and slice clothing. While some of the fish began slicing holes in the sail of Kelfy’s boat, others worked at chewing and cutting the oars and sides of the tiny craft. Kelfy struggled to lower the sail to protect it, and Tandum and Higson each grabbed their swords and began swatting at the fish as they flew through the air.
The sound of laughter reached the ears of the travelers, but it was not the happy sort of laughter one hears when creatures are having fun. This laughter was menacing and filled with evil. All around the little fishing boat, Adaro were rising out of the water, flinging flying fish toward the vessel…and laughing!
Carling held up her arms to shield herself and looked over the side of the boat. When she saw the Adaro lifting halfway out of the water, she gasped and pulled back. Her entire body began to shake uncontrollably. The Adaro were, indeed, monsters. Their heads were shaped like human heads but they were as thin as skeletons. A single fin sprouted in the center of each Adaro’s forehead and stretched back over the top of the head until it reached the back of the neck. Their shoulders and chests were clothed in shells and seaweed. Their muscular arms were covered with slimy scales. As they laughed, their pointed tongues waggled between sharp teeth. Their large round eyes glowed with a white light.
Tibbals looked over the side as well and screamed at the sight. She screamed again as a fish became entangled in her long hair. Tandum twisted around until he was on his hooves. He struggled to remain standing as he continued swinging his sword over his head, chopping at the fish. Higson stood as well. Carling and Tibbals ducked their heads to keep away from the swinging swords.
The boat began spinning around. “I can’t control it,” shouted Kelfy. “I can’t control it! Hold on!”
With the attack underway, Carling left her seat and worked her way toward the bow of the boat, dodging Higson’s swinging sword. She crawled over Tibbals, who was grabbing at the fish in her hair, and onto the forward thwart. She kneeled on the board and tried to steady herself. The young Duende placed the flute to her mouth just as a fish flew through the air and grabbed hold of her arm with its sharp teeth. She gasped from the pain but sucked in enough air to begin playing the little wooden instrument. The first few notes were weak and shaky, but she kept at it until a mournful melody began floating through the salty air and over the choppy, spinning water.
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