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By Jack Vance

Over twelve generations the descendents of an area crash on an international thoroughly lined in water had controlled to conform to their marine tradition. dwelling in villages equipped on tremendous clumps of sea vegetation, they survived at the natural world of the ocean. yet they've got consistently been on the mercy of the kragen - mammoth squid-like monsters that prey on their fish flocks, and on them. the most important of those is King Kragen, with whom the colonists can speak, who should be appeased. yet one guy has had sufficient of a lifetime of slavery and sacrifice. yet how can he persuade his fellow males that King Kragen has to be killed? and the way can that be accomplished in an international with no guns?

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After all it isn't attainable! neither is it clever or right! What of our covenant with King Kragen? " "King Kragen be damned! " cried Poe Belrod approximately. "Let us listen the hoodwink. Come then: do you've any procedure in brain through which the kragen could be destroyed? " Sklar Hast seemed dubiously throughout the darkish towards the good black hulk. "I imagine convinced. a mode that calls for the power of many males. " Poe Belrod waved his hand towards those that had come to observe the kragen. "Here they stand. " "Come," acknowledged Sklar Hast. He walked again towards the heart of the go with the flow. Thirty or 40 males him, in general Swindlers, Advertisermen, Blackguards, Extorters and Larceners. the rest hung dubiously again. Sklar Hast led easy methods to a pile of poles stacked for the development of a brand new storehouse. each one pole, made of withes laid lengthwise and sure in glue, was once twenty toes lengthy via 8 inches in diameter and mixed nice energy with lightness. Sklar Hast chosen a pole even flicker — the ridge beam. "Pull this pole forth, lay it on trestle! " whereas this was once being finished, he seemed approximately and signaled Rudolf Snyder, a 9th, even though a guy no older than himself of the long-lived Incendiary Caste, which now monopolized the instruction of fiber, the laying of rope and plaits. "I want 2 hundred toes of hawser, stout adequate to boost the kragen. If there's none of this, then we needs to double or redouble smaller rope to an identical impact. " Rudolf Snyder took 4 males to assist him and taken rope from the warehouse. Sklar Hast labored with nice power, rigging the pole in keeping with his plans. "Now raise! hold all to the sting of the pad! " excited about his urgency, the boys shouldered the pole, carried it as regards to the lagoon, and at Sklar Hast's path set it down with one finish resting at the not easy fiber of a rib. the opposite finish, to which lengths of hawser have been tied, rested on a trestle and nearly overhung the water. "Now," stated Sklar Hast, "now we kill the kragen. " He made a noose on the finish of a hawser, complex towards the kragen, which watched him in the course of the rear-pointing eyes of its turret. Sklar Hast moved slowly, in order to not alarm the creature, which endured to pluck sponges with a contemptuous fail to remember. Sklar Hast approached the sting of the pad. "Come, beast! " he referred to as. "Ocean brute! Come nearer. Come. " He bent, splashed water on the kragen. Provoked, it surged towards him. Sklar Hast waited, and previous to it swung its vane, he tossed the noose over its turret. He signaled his males. "Now! " They heaved at the line, dragged the beating kragen in the course of the water. Sklar Hast guided the road to the tip of the pole. The kragen surged unexpectedly ahead; within the confusion and the darkish the boys heaving at the rope fell backward. Sklar Hast seized the slack and, dodging a murderous cut back of the kragen's fore-vane, flung a hitch round the finish of the pole, he danced again. "Now! " he known as. "Pull, pull! either strains! The beast is pretty much as good as useless! " On all the pair of hawsers tied to the pinnacle of the pole twenty males heaved.

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