Chapter 15: "The Vortex"
The time for navigation had passed long ago—perhaps even centuries ago. There was no direction or even movement as far as any could surmise. So, the Endless Sea simply did whatever it would with them. Whether they drifted, stopped still, or plowed ahead at full clip, it would be at the will of the fates and the sea. And so it went for ages and ages without change. Until something happened.
Marielle awoke to the sound of strong, whipping winds. She opened her eyes carefully to protect them from the sun; this had become second nature to them all. But the sun was not there. There was only dark cloud-cover above and a deafening roar all around. Marielle jumped to her feet and roused the others as fast as she could. As she pulled the Old Man to his feet, Marielle was able to see the culprit of this odd weather. A cyclone.
It reached down from the clouds like a twisted finger and plunged its fury into the sea. Then the wind itself became wet and violently threw darts of water in all directions.
As her companions scrambled all over the deck, desperately adjusting rudders and riggings to escape this storm, Marielle was frozen in place with a single thought: This cyclone was not natural. Those savages up on the summit of the mountains had used evil magics to conjure whirlwinds just like this one. Could this be that very same storm? With the skewing of time on the Endless Sea, Marielle knew somehow that it was possible…almost certain that it was.
Then something impossible happened, as if to confirm Marielle’s suspicions. As the cyclone’s cruel finger reached down into the water, it pushed all of its energy downward and whipped the sea into a vortex. As this happened, the whirlwind became a whirlpool.
Captain Evinrude grabbed hold of his son, Brutus, and leapt overboard into the roiling sea and tried to swim away. Marielle lost sight of him very quickly as the whitecaps became waves and the ripples became swells. It was clear that the seas now served the vortex.
Kori took Marielle’s hand and pulled her along to the wheel. “We have to get this thing turned around!” Kori threw the throttle into reverse. Luckily, they had all learned how to operate the boat’s main systems.
Marielle rushed to the anchor. “If I can get the anchor to catch, maybe we can stay put until this thing runs its course or moves on!”
But neither of their hopes came true. It was too late. The vortex had grown so wide beneath the surface that it was all around them. Their boat was already within its grasp. Within seconds, this hungry force had pulled them down into its hidden depths. The whirling sea churned and grinded until the trawler was torn to splinters within its core and the entire crew sucked into oblivion.