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The curse of the trident

Legends of the deep

Once upon a time, hundreds of millions of years ago, there lived a colony of merpeople under the sea. Though they were all very different, they managed to coexist peacefully, united by the kind and benevolent King Ragde. Each day he took the time to sit in the main hall of his underwater castle, and receive visitors from throughout the region. Sometimes they came with complaints, or sought out Ragde’s words of wisdom; every so often one would arrive bearing a gift. Such was the case one afternoon, when an elderly merman swam up slowly to the base of the King’s throne. He was thoroughly bedraggled, with tears in his fin and scales sloughing off of his tail.

“My King,” warbled the merman, “I can feel that it will soon be my time to go to the Great Underwater Beyond. I’ve lived a good life, but was not fortunate enough to have any heirs, and the rest of my family is long since gone. I do not have many material things, but there is one heirloom that is my prized possession and I wish to gift it to you.”

The old merman gestured to one of the guards, who swam forward and laid a long package in the lap of the King. Ragde raised an eyebrow at his visitor, who nodded in response and inclined his head in the direction of the package. Slowly, the King unwrapped it, and what emerge was a magnificent golden trident.

“Sir, this is truly spectacular,” said Ragde, “why it must be solid gold!”

“It is indeed, my King. Blessed with magic, too.”

“I simply cannot take this. It is far too generous a gift.”

“Please,” said the merman, “take it. You have been a good, and fair ruler, and I know you will wield it justly.”

“Thank you,” answered King Ragde, “I will always treasure it.”

And treasure it he did, until one night an evil man named Isavab snuck into the King’s chambers, murdered King Ragde, and stole the trident. Unbeknownst to Isavab, this resurrected a curse that had laid dormant for years. You see, the trident had always been passed on benignly to the next generation, but when Isavab took it by force he triggered a curse that invoked bad luck upon all who carried it.

From that point on, tragedy after tragedy befell the wielders of the trident. Isavab was poisoned, while its next owner, Drawdoow, had his throat slit, and still another, Kicneirudz, imbibed too much seawine and skewered himself upon it. The legend of the trident, and its power and mystery, grew. Battles were fought, wars were won, and many more lives were lost in pursuit of this mighty weapon.

One day, a man named Otopid had had enough. Just as Isavab before him, he snuck into the chambers of the trident’s current possessor, and stole the trident while the man was sleeping. But then, instead of keeping it for himself, he swam to the highest point in the region and used all of his considerable strength to heave the trident as far away as possible.

A short time later, an adventurous young merboy named Xilef was out exploring when he glimpsed the trident glinting gold within a knot of seaweed. He wrestled it out and stared in awe at it. He knew everyone in the region had been searching frantically for the weapon, desperate to be the first to possess it once again, but he also knew of the terrible history that the trident carried with it. Xilef, despite his young age, was wise and incredibly selfless, and so he made a decision that would change the entire fate of his colony.

“I will never again allow this trident to harm another. I shall bury it here, far beneath the ocean floor, where no one else can covet or lust after it,” the young Xilef declared. For days he returned to the spot constantly, until, on the 34th day, he decided that was enough, and placed the trident at the bottom of the hole. He placed layer, upon layer of dirt back over it and, once the hole was entirely filled, he pushed and shoved a nearby boulder to cover the spot where the trident lay. There, Xilef thought to himself, now no one else will ever be able to retrieve this cursed thing.

Merpeople hunted for the weapon for years, until its legend began to slowly fade away. Without the trident’s presence to inspire jealousy and bring misfortune upon its possessors, the region settled into a time of long-term peace and happiness, much as it was back when King Ragde ruled.

Hundreds of millions of years passed by, and the continents, once lumped together into one great landmass, began to drift apart to where they sit today. And now, unbeknownst to all the humans who occupy the land, the trident sits buried beneath them, where the lines of 47.5914° N and 122.3323° W intersect.

(The Seattle Mariners fell to the Houston Astros 5-2, despite another quality start by Sam Gaviglio and two scoreless innings from Dan Altavilla. The offense was no-hit by Lance McCullers through five, and went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position. The loss snapped their winning streak at 6, and dropped them another half game back in the wild card race.)