It was a shark!
That thing is like ten times my size and angry¸ Sparrow thought. And they want to bring it onto the boat?
Of course, she had heard about sharks before, but never seen one. She’d only first arrived at the coastal city of Odessia a week ago. She had been awed by the ocean, its size and beauty. Every day, sailing was an adventure of discovery.
Sparrow could handle danger. She knew how to deal with dangerous men—with knives, stilettos, or even a rope in a pinch. But she didn’t know how to fight something with that many teeth. They shone like pearls in the beast’s massive jaws.
All around, the other fishermen yelled and grunted. Three of them hauled in the line to which the shark was unceremoniously hooked. The rest cleared the deck to make space for the load. Sparrow only stared into the thrashing water.
The shark fought the fishermen’s effort ferociously, whipping its tail from side to side, throwing waves of water onto the deck of the ship. Blood clouded the otherwise clear blue water, rolling out slowly like a fog.
A couple more men grabbed the line, as the beast slammed into the side of the ship. Others worked a large net down into the water to haul it up.
The creature flopped frantically on the flat boards. It stared at the men, what must have looked to it like a coven of devils. The men used the net to bind the giant fish to the floor, using their own might to subdue its resistance.
One of its large eyes caught Sparrow’s. She could see its confusion, its fear. She had seen that look in the eyes of men many times before, when she was an assassin for the Shadow Guild of Marudal. But she had never felt such pity for those men as she now felt for this wondrous creature lying dispirited before her.
The first mate maneuvered around to the beast’s head, raising a large sword into the air. Sparrow closed her eyes. She heard the thud of the strike, the silence of death. She smelt the salt of blood and seawater.
It was the first time she had ever seen a shark. She now hoped to never see another.