The Hellion's Wake
The Game Keeper
Where legend and absurdity meet
Somewhere out on the open seas, the jungle wages war from a lone man-o-war. The impossibility of the sight of it registering at only the most fundamental layers of panicked thought on those it bears down upon; its verdant, rippling tree-top canopy trailing vines and loud with wild screeching. Attached to the masts and treetops are sails of wide, leafy foliage tied into place with strips of bark and vines. The decks are scarcely recognisable as a part of any ship: a thick brush littered with bushes and weeds harbour filthy piles of mud, which spill down the boards and drip into the grating of the cargo hatch.
Those who sail aboard her are a horrific melding of man and beast. The bosun, Madame Grizzly, really is. Master Nut Snatcher has the bushy tail of a squirrel and a penchant for mutilation. Coarse, tusk-adorned boarmen make up the literal bulk of the marines. Most frightening of all is the captain. He is neither the biggest nor the most cunning beast aboard the Game Keeper, but he is the most vicious. Below a wide, dark hat, clad in a gunsmoke-stained longcoat and brandishing a terrifying, mechanical hand-crank gun, Captain Manboonies is insanity given form. His sharp, shrill laughter competing with the steady beat of eruptions from his weapon, the flashing of its muzzle mirrored in the crazed glint in his eye as shards of hot metal tear through those possessing the supreme misfortune to face him. It is a shocking experience few survive.
The Game Keeper should be the stuff of myth and mirth. It isn’t.