Some nights Mage lays on the bowsprit of the Jolly Roger and listens to the monsters in the deep groaning against their chains. She dangles her fingers in the icy seawater and sings them lullaby promises of wreckage and ruin. I know what it means to be confined, her songs soothe with wordless melody. I know what it means to be so full of rage, so lost in madness, and yet be denied your rightful vengeance. Hush, she croons, I will free you soon and we will break worlds beneath us. It is a promise to all the maligned beast-horrors exiled to the unkind places of the universe. It is a promise to herself.
[ Prompt from my nemesis: Mage tries to break the new lighthouse bulb but it won’t fucking break no matter what she tries and it’s either horrifying or hilarious. ]
As the light swept over the anchored ship, several things were uttered at once:
“You bitch,” growled Mage, baring her teeth.
“Oh no,” sighed Tanim, dragging one hand down his face.
“Yesssss…” grinned the siren, flicking her tail in anticipation.
“Here we go again,” mumbled Daren, crossing his arms.
And so it began. Again.
After a week, two things had become painfully clear. One, neither cannon nor blasting powder nor lightning strike nor kraken attack could break the new lighthouse bulb. Two, no number of failures would convince Mage to give up her current obsession with re-breaking the light. All other dastardly plans were put on indefinite hold while the captain plotted by day and attacked by night. When she slept was anyone’s guess, and though it is rumored elves don’t actually need to sleep, the increased instability in her eyes begged to differ.
“What is this fucking thing made out of?” Mage cursed one night as she watched the flock of harpies fly away, razor claws blunted by the unyielding glass. “Orphan tears or angel spit or something?” She rolled her eyes and turned away. “Gods, probably. And, like, unconditional love. Ugh.” Sarcasm aside, she spent the rest of the night researching ways to break love-based spells; the next night she smeared a mixture of blood, gun powder, and gravedirt on the glass and struck it hard with the hook. Nothing happened, and when the light shone even brighter the next morning she swore so vehemently the ship’s sails caught fire.
Two weeks into the endeavor, it was now clear traditional weaponry and eldritch horrors weren’t the way to go. After several day’s absence, the ship returned to Sanctuary Island’s port loaded down with the best weapons the universe’s far reaches had to offer. Or steal. Yet the magical swords all broke against the smooth glass and the deadly lasers all bounced off to strike some other landmark a thousand miles away. Rocket launchers and missiles were certainly fun to watch explode, but every time the smoke cleared the light still gleamed mockingly. Spells and curses slid off the glass like plain water; Mjölnir chipped and Anduril bent like tin. Soon the sea floor below The Jolly Roger lay scattered with broken and abandoned weapons, which the mermaids happily collected for their own unknown use.
Two months into the doomed venture, Mage had resorted to venting her frustration through petty vandalism. She set fire to various parts of the island, graffitied bad words in a hundred different languages on the lighthouse and surrounding structures, and enchanted various objects until you couldn’t set foot on the island without dodging flying rocks, territorial trees, and uncannily intelligent birds that seemed bent on tearing out every strand of hair on your head. None of this really made the captain feel better, but it gave her something to do between attempts at breaking the bulb. It also amused the siren, who giggled gleefully at the wanton destruction and occasionally swam to shore to throw debris of her own. Still, angry rocks seemed a poor consolation prize when even the Spear of Longinus failed to scratch the glass.
On the eve of the third month, Tanim and Daren glimpsed Mage pouring over an ACME catalogue, bloodshot eyes narrowed in concentration, and knew they must intervene. Even men as used to death as they were didn’t look forward to being accidentally crushed by falling anvils or being blown up when the rocket tied to a giant slingshot backfired. Perhaps one day they would stumble across the light’s weakness and take down the beacon for a second time, but for now something had to give. By this time, however, their captain had gone far past what one would normally consider “the deep end” and lived now in a Marianas Trench of obsession. Only breaking her focus by switching it to something else would end the cycle.
Their plan was not a good plan. In fact, it was a very, very bad plan. But as Tanim and Daren waited for Mage to notice that the multitude of warding and protection spells woven into the ship had begun to weaken, thus requiring a strategic retreat while she recharged them, they agreed this was the lesser of two evils. The chances of her finding out they were the ones who had drained the spells were ever so slightly lower than the chances of them all dying in a comedic explosion, after all, and being Mage’s crew had made them nothing if not pragmatic.