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Venturing into the Vortex

by literary


"Sometimes, you'll go all day without so much as a nibble."

An older, Purple Krawk sits hunched over the dark waters. In his well-worn claws, a frail rod dangles above the lake as a bobber floats atop the vortex. His shipwreck shorts and fishing vest seemed to be covered in so much sand and salt it makes one wonder how many days, weeks or maybe even years the Krawk has been venturing out to Ye Olde Fishing Vortex.

Without breaking his line of sight on the small, red bobber wobbling in the hidden underground lake, he continues, "Other days, you pull up something real good, real quick.

"I got started some years back." The Krawk stares off into the Vortex, seemingly uninterested in the conversation at hand. "Not sure what drew me to this spot. I hear you can catch some real first-class stuff in this here Vortex. Every once and a while, some young hot-shot from the cities comes down here, trying his lot. But it takes patience. Real patience. That's the ticket," he sighs, as the dock creaks with the sway of the water.

Ye Olde Fishing Vortex was discovered deep within the ruins of Maraqua. Inside, an intrepid Jetsam runs a small tackle shop and Neopets travel from all over Neopia attempt to fish up the treasures of a lost land. The cavern's dome shape allowed an air pocket to form, letting even non-aquatic pets make an attempt. Today, only three fishermen made the trek to the Vortex to try their luck at catching something fantastic.

Nearby, a young yellow Usul swings her rod back and forth, slowly swishing the waters with the bobber. The Krawk smiles, almost disapprovingly at the young Neopet. "No, not like that, darling. You gots to let the water do all the work. Just relax. The good catch can always sense a bad fisherman," the Krawk gently chastises the young Usul, who quickly attempts to stop her jostling and stares intently at the red plastic bouncing just a few feet from the rickety dock.

"Rumors say this cave is haunted. Pirates, that's the favorite legend," the Krawk continues.

In a small service desk near the entrance of the lake, a gentle Maraquan Jetsam untangles some rope as the sounds of the cave reverberates off the walls. The Jetsam struggles slightly and drops an anchor to the ground. The "clank" is heard over and over.

The Krawk never draws his eyes from his pursuit. "But that's hogwash. It's nature. It's organic. It's.. It's something special."

"I started fishing when I was just a little kid!" the Usul chirps up excitedly.

"Oh, don't be silly, girl. You're still a baby! Barely old enough to play the Wheels." The Krawk doesn't remove his attention from the water. Under the fishermen, the water seems to change shape and color, almost as if it has a mind of its own. The Vortex seems to be never ending, and just off the shores it seems to drop into endless darkness.

The Usul pouts, and turns her attention back to the conversation, "He's just grumpy, wants to act like he's the only fisherman down here!" Her statement is punctuated by a quick squeak, "Eeeek! I saw it move! It moved! I saw it!"

The Krawk begins reeling in his line, gently pulling the hook back onto the dock. He forces his feet to return to the dock with what seems to be all of his strength. You can hear a slight pop and crackle in his back as he shuffles over to the young woman's end of the dock. "Hold steady now!" he gently places his hand on the girl's shoulder, "Nice and easy, don't scare nothing."

He keeps his voice low and calm, almost willing his peaceful demeanor into the frantic fisherman. The Usul gentle reels in her line, as the Cybunny at the other end of the deck looks on, longingly. "You got something down there? You think it's something good? Something valuable?" His eyes grow bigger as he watches the pair's intensity.

"Shhhhhh, and keep still about it. The waters... they can sense it," the Krawk growls softly.

The Cybunny's fur bristles from the insult. He scoffs and tries his luck with his net. He peers into the lake, as if attempting to intimidate the water into giving up its secrets. As he leans his nose down towards the dark abyss, a strong wave forcing him to lose his balance. He manages to catch himself unceremoniously, but his hat disappears into the swirling pool. The water then seems to calm, as if it was pleased with its self.

"I... I think I got it..." As the Usul pulls hard on the line, and with one might swing the prize is hoisted onto the creaking dock, soaking the wood as the Krawk shuffles back to his rod on the other side of the dock. "Well, there's always the next one."

The Usul scrunches her cheeks into a snarl, "Aww, maaan! I waited all day for a stinking boot! What a waste!" She picks the water logged footgear by just the tip, letting a mini waterfall gush out of it, clearly disgusted with her hard won gift from the Vortex. "I'm never going to find anything good in this old puddle of junk!"

The dark water begins to get rougher at the insult, and it forces the Krawk to steady himself on the rickety old dock. He takes a moment to rifle through his pockets, pulling a soft yellow feather from one. While his fingers seem to be frozen with age, he still manages to tie the new bait into a sophisticated knot with the line. This time he throws the hook far away from the dock , his throw arching high above the water before making a splash. He begins his pursuit once again.

"Patience, darling. Patience." The Krawk returns his attention to his own rod. He watches the bobber sway with the dark, endless waters, "There's always tomorrow."

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