Cresting a frothy wave, Lionel B. Thretkaut salutes his crew. Black water spills into the boat, rising to the men’s knees. His forehead itching, LBT salutes again – a hasty, ill-formed thing hardly befitting the gravity of the situation – and cannonballs into the ocean’s freezing depths. He swims a few kilometres until he comes across an emissary from the Sea Queen, who guides him to her throne room.
The space around the throne is framed with undulating seaweed in a thousand different hues, and the Queen herself is flanked by liveried servants at parade rest. LBT prostrates himself and begs for the lives of his crew to be spared – “They’re but lowly dogs in your sight, O Sea Queen; show your infinite mercy by hastening their return from Your Storm, and I shall be forever your faithful consort.”
The Sea Queen shares a sneering glance with a servant at her right flipper and assents to LBT’s request. He’s shown to a cage of green copper and bends double to fit inside. Over the years he is never once sent for by the Sea Queen; nor is he ever, even once, certain that she did in fact let his crew live. LBT becomes quite skilled in meditation, and eventually wastes away due to a protein deficiency.