The waters glistened in the sun as I stood atop the reef, my gaze searching the horizon. Time lost all meaning as I strained my eyes, seeking for any sign of rescue. They’d taken away my ship, dragging her away in chins. They’d tried to take my companion, those she managed to escape by shedding some of her armor. Then, instead of killing me, they left me here, abandoned. Without friends. Without support. Without hope.

My prison wasn’t even a proper island. There was no sand, only the sharp reefs threatening to cut through my boots. No true land in sight. No supplies left to lengthen my sentence. Only the knowledge that I would slowly wither away as the waters lapped at me, as the sun burned down upon me, and as the madness of survival worked itself upon my mind.

A pair of fins broke the surface of the waters in the distance, nearly indistinct amidst the waves. I knew the signs though. They’d been waiting, sensing something off about their reef home. It was enough to draw their attention, if not their focus. There was no blood in the water, after all. Not yet anyway. Fortunately, the reef was near enough the surface that only my boots were in the waters… at least while I still had the strength to stand.

Suddenly the fins turned and tried to dash away. It wasn’t quickly enough. A trio of huge tentacles breached the surface before slamming back into the waters, wrapping around the unseen predator turned prey and dragging it into the depths. A smile adorned my lips. My companion had finally returned.

Moments later a tentacle arose before me, slowly writhing onto the reefs, the sharp edges of the reef ignored by the tough, rubbery limb. I offered the tentacle a gentle pat before allowing it to wrap around my waist and lift me from the reef. Waters churned as my companion lifted herself partially from the waters. It was strange seeing  her without her armor, but at least her cannon emplacements were still intact. We would be able to retake the ship and hopefully free the crew. Those that were still alive, anyway.

The tentacle deposited me among the cannons. I checked over the armaments for a moment before nodding in satisfaction. It was time to get us a new ship. Fortunately, I knew where a couple had been.. stashed, as it were. It was only a matter of a couple of hours before we reached the cache. Taking a deep breath, I directed my companion down into the depths.

Crystal clear waters held the wonders of the ocean. Colorful fish and other aquatic animals danced within my vision, somehow not fleeing from my squid. Perhaps they could tell when she was on the hunt and when she was on another task? They were not my concern though. I was here for another type of treasure.

Nestled in the sand were a trio of nearly intact marauder vessels. Flanking those sunken treasures were a number of merchant ships. Prizes that I’d collected over the years and had my companion store here. Giving her a pat on the head, I directed her towards one of the larger of the marauders. Massive tentacles reached out, hauling the ship free of the sand and then dragging it towards the surface.

Water poured from the free ports of the ship as it broke free of the ocean surface, held aloft by the squid. The sight took my breath away, marveling at the strength of my companion. Even after all these years, she never ceased to amaze me.

Soon enough, the ship was laid down to float and I was lifted gently up to high castle. With the handles of the wheel in my hand, a wide smile adorned my lips. It was good to be captain again. Now it was time to get my crew, and my ship.

First though, I’d need a new crew for this one. Time to call in some favors.