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  1.                                 - Tidewater -
  2.         Written by Yuriel on a whim and without much effort poured into it.
  3.         A story about how a fish becomes a god.
  4. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  5. Drops of water. Smoking cinders.
  6. In one side stands Bahaar, clad in hellfire along with his giant hammer. Fireballs gather above and behind him. His mere presence makes the sun feel cold.
  7. On the other side, we see a semi-corporeal fish, swimming in the air itself with its pointy, razor-sharp fangs and fins. Water swirls around and behind it, but its dragon-like scales are what protect it from Bahaar's deadly heat.
  8. The two stand there, facing one another before moving in for a final clash, an epic battle of blazing hellfire against raging tidewater.
  10. But wait, I think we started on the wrong foot here. That's not how the story starts, it's how it ends!
  11. Okay sorry. Gather 'round, folks. I shall tell you the tale of Shin, the fish who seemingly by chance became the guardian deity of the seas.
  13. The depths of the now-closed, run down Bathysmal Rise is home to many fish of all kinds. Some of these fish journey out into the world of Arborea, sometimes all the way to Arun's east coast. One of these fish wandered into the docks of Cutthroat Harbor in Ostgarath, which has become a popular fishing spot recently due to the sudden appearance of many big fish. There we see a retired veteran called Jones.
  15. Jones was an adventurer who first came across Arborea a little before the Federation came across space-time breaches in Arx Umbra in North Arun, that led to a place they called "The Timescape". Jones and other fellow adventurers braved into many dangers over the years for the Federation, including the Timescape, Sky Cruiser Endeavor, Forsaken Island and many others.
  16. The struggle proved too much for Jones in later years so he passed on the torch to other adventurers and went live a leisurely life some time after the purging of Forsaken Island, which he was remniscing about in the docks of Cutthroat Harbor, where he departed on his expedition.
  17. He sat down at the edge of the dock. With him there was a bag of loot he picked up in the island. Stuff like ghostly seals, dread metal and some strange shards from Desolarus's throne. He held one of these shards in his hands, an eerie kind of energy emanating from it. But he's a clumsy idiot and ended up letting it fall down into the water, but before he could jump down to get it, a big fish came up and swallowed it in one go. Jones had many of those shards with him, but every single one carried a story by itself, so he was pretty furious about a fish stealing one from him.
  18. He jumped down into the water without a second thought and tried to swim after the fish, but as expected, not nearly fast enough and the fish got away pretty easily. Now there he was, drenched in saltwater over a fish that stole a ghostly shard off of him due to his own stupidity. We can already tell he's not very bright. Plus, what could go wrong with a fish swallowing a piece of an angry ghost's throne anyway? It's not like the fish would suddenly become a ghost itself and come haunt poor Jones in his dreams, right?
  19. Right, so Jones swam back into the docks, furious beyond imagination, handed his bag of loot back to the local bank and went home. The rest of his day went pretty routinely, he took a shower, had some dinner later and went sleep.
  21. But the fish did come haunt him in his dreams as a ghost.
  22. Well, maybe not in his dreams, but it did come haunt him just before he went sleep. He saw a semi-corporeal vision of the fish who snatched his shard standing right at his window. The fish now had sharp, spiky fins, and was surrounded by a thin ethereal-looking mist. Jones jumped out of his bed but before he could grab his trusty greatsword, the fish spoke in his mind.
  23. It had apparently become sentient, the shard giving him mysterious properties as well, such as the ability to swim on air (like some ghosts are able to float) and breathe both water and air. It could be said the fish was both dead and alive at once, because parts of it acted like a ghost while some others acted like a normal fish.
  25. The fish named itself Shin, and said he simply wanted to become stronger to protect the waters he and his kin swims on.
  26. Shin sought the experience Jones had, and Jones sought the shard Shin stole from him.
  27. Both sought something from one another so Jones saw this as an opportunity and offered him a deal: he would guide Shin as best as he could, but once he was strong enough to live without the ghostly shard he swallowed, he would give it back.
  28. Shin didn't have much of a choice in the matter and promised to find a way to give the shard back to its owner if he were to be guided. The deal was sealed.
  29. But honestly, Jones never had the habit of sleeping early and it was nearly 2 in the morning, so he shooed the poor fish back into the sea and both went sleep until the next morning.
  31. The sun rises. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming. On days like these...
  32. ... ghost fishes and veteran adventurers go out for a walk, of course. It's a nice day out.
  33. So Jones and Shin set out once again to the docks of Cutthroat Harbor. Jones wanted to see what Shin was capable of doing, and after a day of experimenting and a tiny bit of sparring, they found out that Shin is actually almost intangible, and while he can be hit by physical attacks, it's hard to do so as he phases right through most attacks. Elements and magic seem to be able to get to him though, like fire, water and lightning. Shin can also control tidal waters to some extent. It was nothing impressive though, so Jones gave Shin his first task: he's to go back to Bathysmal Rise to find and recover Fulminar's power core. It was said that the giants who engineered Fulminar used a very small crystal to power its water-based attacks, so Jones thought that if Shin could snatch this crystal then he would be able to control tidal forces at Fulminar's level (who was engineered to slay gods themselves for that matter).
  34. And so it was, Shin begun his journey to the Bathysmal Rise in Ex Prima, arriving in record time due to his newfound flight abilities. He descended through the caverns into the aquarium-like structure, where other terrifying creatures once resided in. The inside of the aquarium was in a pretty sad state, cracks on the glass and stone and some other minor creatures lurking about. When he finally got to Fulminar's room, he found its scraps lying on the ground, but nothing that resembled a power core anywhere. He looked around some more, nothing. He then felt a surge of energy flowing from behind a waterfall and traced his way back to it. It wasn't what he was expecting though, for a large Jinn had stolen Fulminar's power core and used it to empower himself.
  35. But Shin was determined to get that power. Through breezes and water jets, Shin managed to knock the power core off the Jinn, who then returned to normal size. Shin then noticed a lid nearby used to cover the Jinn's pot and used his water powers to slam it on the Jinn's head and seal him shut. The power core was recovered.
  36. Now the question was, how to get that crystal out of there? He didn't know, so he thought about bringing it to Jones, as he might know.
  37. It took Shin two days after setting off to Ex Prima to return to Jones with Fulminar's power core.
  38. Jones was surprised Shin didn't notice the obvious, that to extract the crystal from the power core, all he had to do was break the cyan glass surrounding it. But it was tough.
  39. Jones had to go outside and swing his greatsword down on the core to manage a nice enough crack, then broke through with a pommel strike. The crystal was inside, a navy blue stone that felt wet to the touch. He gave it to Shin, who grew in size a fair bit and felt a major surge of energy once he swallowed the stone. He could now control a much larger volume of water and create it from the moisture in the air in extremely large quantities now. Raging tidewater was now at Shin's command.
  41. So what now? Now, Jones explained, there was only one guy who could bring about the destruction of the seas, skies and lands. Someone that many adventurers tried to eliminate, but perished. Someone that was overcome by a select few adventurers only to rise up again. Someone who could bring about a hellfire-scorched earth if left unchecked.
  42. An unquenchable fire. Bahaar, the lord of the flames.
  44. Bahaar was a god, and Jones believed that now that Shin controls Fulminar's god-slaying water powers, he could finally quench the flame nobody else could.
  45. The two of them set out to Fyrmount, into Bahaar's sanctum. There, they faced the insane god, part of his power bound by Balder's seal, but still very deadly.
  46. The air itself was scorching hot. Breathing was painful, and the heat was even harsher on Shin, who was a fish.
  48. Bahaar made the first move and jumped on them with his fiery hammer. Jones rolls to the side while Shin flies away and tries to summon more waters, but can't. The air is too hot and dry to allow any significant amount of water to form. Bahaar continues his assault, focusing on Jones who seemed the bigger threat. But Jones was experienced at fighting and dodged most of these attacks, managing to land a few measured slices and a few punishing blows to Bahaar, who kept waving his hammer relentlessly. Shin tried a few well-placed jets of water here and there but they didn't have enough potency to even get Bahaar's attention, they vaporized right when in contact with his volcanic-like skin.
  49. Bahaar eventually overwhelmed Jones, as the veteran was still a bit rusty. With a few nasty burns to his arms and chest, Jones escaped the sanctum with Shin's aid.
  51. The two were outside now. Bahaar was too powerful for Shin in his current condition, and Jones was now too wounded to fight anytime soon. Jones carried himself back home to treat his wounds, and while doing so, gave Shin two more tasks.
  52. First, Shin was to go to Arx Umbra into the space-time breach the Federation found many years ago into the Timescape. Jones thought about "a time where Bahaar's sanctum was still a normal unnamed place, and since it's in Ostgarath who mostly has seas and coasts around, that place was ripe with waters for Shin to bring forth". He told Shin to go into Yana's Timecore and find the fractured seconds of timescape scattered around so he could tap into those times and bring forth the tide against Bahaar. He gave Shin a tip for when he got to Thundertrial: "encase yourself in a bubble of water until you get inside the Timecore". As for why, he didn't say.
  53. The second task was to follow a group of adventurers into the Harrowhold. Shin would need to consume one of Vergos's scales in order to become fireproof. Bahaar would be nearly impossible to defeat without some sort of fire protection, and the scales of the first dragon are perfect for the task.
  55. Shin thanked Jones for all he's done and set off to Arx Umbra. One full day of travels until he found the space-time breach that the archdevan castle's energy laser pointed to. Once past the breach, Shin found himself in a very unfamiliar place. It looked to be way above the sky as he knew it, with clouds down below instead of up above. There were many ruins floating about, probably as a result of Yana tampering with the laws of reality. In the distance, he saw a huge stone sphere surrounding a very peculiar, smaller blue sphere. He thought that might be the Timecore Jones spoke of, as it gave a very eerie feeling when gazed upon. Shin flew towards that, and covered himself in his water bubble once inside the bigger stone sphere, which he assumed to be Thundertrial.
  56. Lightning bolts arched off of the Timecore into the nearby structure. One of them struck Shin's water bubble, but the current never reached Shin due to his bubble isolating him from it. So that's why Jones said that, huh? Interesting. Shin soon found his way inside the Timecore.
  58. Inside the Timecore, Yana's crown and many dice were scattered about. Nothing that resembled "seconds of timescape" though. Time was distorting itself right before Shin's eyes, as he saw many glimpses of the past and future alike, both his and others'. One of these glimpses showed adventurers fighting Yana. Another made him take notice of several small, white and blue coins they called "Cosmoshards". Yet another glimpse of the past showed an adventurer gathering up power from the air itself into a cosmoshard. Perhaps those were the seconds Jones spoke of. Perhaps these seconds aren't an item per se, they're instead a concept. A kind of energy.
  59. Shin found a cosmoshard under one of Yana's dice and used his water to lift it high up. Energy began to swirl around the shard. One second. Two. Three. Ten. One hundred. One thousand. One million. One trillion. The seconds kept gathering up until the shard nearly broke. Shin had an ample supply of seconds to draw from, stretching many, many years into time. But these seconds could count into the past as well as into the future. Many years in the future.
  60. Shin saw many, many glimpses of his future self. Many memories he had yet to make. His time accelerated. He saw many possible futures. Many possible outcomes. He knew what to do. How to defeat Bahaar. How to fully make use of Fulminar's god-slaying water powers. How to shave Vergos's scales off. How to topple and even kill the dragon. He saw it all.
  62. He saw his future as a god of the tide himself.
  64. Shin darted off. Back into our world through the rift at an amazing speed. He reached the Harrowhold in just another half a day, where he saw a group of 20 adventurers struggling to down Vergos. The fight raged.
  65. Shin tapped upon Fulminar's water powers and summoned a barrage of water at the dragon, quenching his flames and toppling him in the process with a heavy water bomb. The tidewaters raged until Vergos drowned in them, his wings and horns broken by the impact of the water bombs Shin drove straight to him. The adventurers were both drenched and amazed at how swiftly a single flying fish dispatched of a dragon of Vergos's caliber.
  66. Shin then ate a single of Vergos's scales. His own scales started to morph into a dragon's in the process, he grew a pair of sharp fangs and his fins' spikes hardened into dragonbone. Now that he was fireproof and could make his water boil as well, he set off for the final showdown against Bahaar.
  68. He went back to Fyrmount and into Bahaar's sanctum. The fire god had a good look at the fish who dared disturb him.
  69. Unforgivable.
  70. Bahaar charged at Shin who phased right through his hammer. He responded with his cosmoshard, fracturing a great deal of seconds to summon a huge supply of water into the sanctum. He flooded it and sent Bahaar flying towards the other wall with a tidal wave. Bahaar was furious.
  71. He swung his hammer viciously, sending a huge fire wave against the fish, but Shin countered with even more water. His water was disintegrated by Bahaar's absurdly hot flames, only for Shin to summon even more water into the sanctum. The water barrage never stopped. Bahaar did his best to deflect the water missiles with his hammer and counter-attack with flame swipes only to hit Shin's water, but too much is too much. He was sent flying against the wall once again by a direct hit to the chest. Balder's seal finally broke.
  72. Unforgivable.
  73. That's where Bahaar drew the line and summoned his fireballs. He would burn this fish into nothingness with hellfire. He would burn.
  75. Bahaar clads himself in hellfire and swipes lava at Shin. This time it gets through his tidewater and even burns through the fish's dragon scales. Bahaar sends his fireballs chasing after Shin. The fish skillfully dodges them despite the searing pain. Magma waves. Flaming swipes more intense than ever before. Bahaar manages to burn Shin a few times despite his dragon scales shielding him from the worst of the flames. Bahaar sure is furious and relentless.
  76. But shin is powerful. He amplifies his tidewater's power in response to Bahaar, bombarding the fire god with missile after missile. The two of them clash until exhaustion.
  77. Shin only has one batch of seconds left to bring the most powerful tidal wave he can. Bahaar only has enough stamina for one more lava swing, more powerful than anything else he can muster.
  79. Drops of water. Smoking cinders.
  80. In one side stands Bahaar, clad in hellfire along with his giant hammer. Fireballs gather above and behind him. His mere presence makes the sun feel cold.
  81. On the other side, we see a semi-corporeal fish, swimming in the air itself with its pointy, razor-sharp fangs and fins. Water swirls around and behind it, but its dragon-like scales are what protect it from Bahaar's deadly heat.
  82. The two stand there, facing one another before moving in for a final clash, an epic battle of blazing hellfire against raging tidewater.
  84. Shin uses his remaining seconds to flood the whole sanctum with freezing cold tidewater. Bahaar gathers the rest of his might into a massive lava wave.
  85. The tidewater hardens the lava into stone and carries it along, delivering Bahaar a severe punch of rock and water.
  86. Bahaar lies unconscious. Shin can barely keep himself afloat. There are 60 seconds left in his cosmoshard, but due to Shin's reckless tidal wave, the shard was damaged and shatters, the 60 seconds giving Shin a glimpse one minute into the future.
  87. He sees himself plunging his fangs into Bahaar's neck, drinking a bit of his ichor. What's ichor you ask? That's the blood of the gods. But Shin's glimpse ends before he gets to see what happens next.
  88. So he takes the leap of faith and does as he saw. Bahaar's ichor burns Shin all the way through to his stomach, so he quickly lets go and falls to the ground.
  89. But the gods' ichor is unimaginably powerful. Shin ascends to godhood thanks to it, and feels his very being resonating with the seas as one. He is now the new god of the tides.
  91. Shin then fled Bahaar's sanctum and left the god to calm his spirit through time, but will once again rise if needed to defend his home. It's said that he went back to the Bathysmal Rise in seclusion and asked the skywhales to watch over the skies and the land in his stead while he himself watches over the seas.
  93. As for the shard from Desolarus's throne, that one had fused with his heart at the very beginning of his transformation into a ghostly fish, as he saw in a Timescape glimpse. Guess Jones will never see his shard again.
  95. One beautiful day, Jones wanders back into the docks of Cutthroat Harbor only to find a strange, peculiar rock on the shore to his left. Seems like the sea brought him a strange gift this time. It looks very familiar though...
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