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Horror and Hubbub 2019: SubeVicente's entry

Stories tell that the only way to tame a Kelpie is by taking hold of its bridle and commanding it to obey, and although this is true of almost every Water Horse in existence, there is one that defies this rule.

Its name had long been forgotten to the ages. Once, it was an equine; raised and bred to be a merchant like his predecessors. Throughout his travels, he saw many things, learned many a trade and made a comfortable living for himself. The day came, though, that he found himself a member of a caravan of fellow merchants riding through territory far outside of their usual route. The lands bordering Olde Foxbury and the Lands of the Dragonmaw were known to be cursed, and with the Harvest Festival currently underway there were more than a few strange sightings and happenings in the area. With a hired band of sell-swords and few magicians, though, he and his compatriots were confident that no trouble would befall them.

He was wrong.

From the putrid mud lining the sides of the trail, warped and cursed creatures of horror arose and attacked them, maiming and slaying all unfortunate enough to flee the caravan and those who defended it. He fought valiantly, being trained in the art of swordplay, but as his arms began to tire and his cutlass grew heavier with each swing, he was overwhelmed. Instead of becoming carrion like his traveling companions though, he awoke seemingly moments later wrapped in chains atop a monolith in the center of a pond which was surrounded by five other tall, slender pillars. On top of each was a hooded figure, droning in a low and ominous tone that sent chills down his spine. He struggled to free himself from the chains, and his voice grew hoarse and ragged from shouting and pleading with the hooded figures.

Just as he began to lose all hope of escaping, a change happened. From the murky, misty water that surrounded them, a thick tendril of water began to rise. He watched on, terrified, as the stories he was told as a foal were made material right before his eyes. A shrill whinny echoed from the tendril that approached his chained form, and in an explosion of water the form of the dreaded Water Horse appeared. The droning chants of the hooded figures around him began to grow louder, and the vicious red eyes of the Kelpie locked onto his. A fanged sneer spread across its water-soaked muzzle.

Frozen in terror, the stallion could only watch as the Kelpie drew closer and closer to him; the gross breath of the vile spirit soon washing over his face before his vision was framed by razor sharp teeth, and then -


It awoke with a strangled gasp of air, and surging from where it was chained, it broke free from the iron restraints binding it down with the ease of rising from one’s bed. No more was it a renowned merchant and explorer, but a twisted, wretched amalgamation of something living and not. A Kelpie born that could not be tethered to any mortal by the sole weakness of its bridle, as no harness or bridle sat upon it's muzzle and body.

The hooded sorcerers chattered happily at their accomplishment, for now they had the weapon they desired to dispatch their toughest foes! But, their binding magic and the ancient, forbidden spell they utilized was more efficient and, at the same time, more useless than they could have ever imagined. Instead of going immediately to dispatch their enemies as their spell had commanded, the Kelpie gave a bone chilling neigh of freedom before turning on the dark sorcerers who had moments ago created it...

As the limp, torn bodies of the vile sorcerers slowly sunk beneath the lagoon, the Kelpie submerged itself under the water of its new home; only it's eyes and mane exposed above the gloomy surface. It knew from a past life that many, many more foolish travelers would traverse it’s domain with prayers of safety. And with a wicked fanged grin, it disappeared fully below the surface, already anxious and waiting for its next meal...