Flung unceremoniously off the side of the overturning ship, his unavoidable dunking in bracingly cold seawater revived Maldoch quicker than a stinging slap to the face from his witch of an ex wife. Strange that what was probably his last thought should be of Norelda, a person he weirdly both loved and loathed.
That he was about to die came as no revelation to the trussed up wizard. Plunging headfirst into the abyss, dragged inevitably downwards by the weight of his waterlogged robes, Maldoch thrashed wildly, battling instinctively against his imminent drowning. Managing to right himself, he succeeded only in altering the inescapable. Sinking feet first now granted him an unobstructed view of the carnage overhead. Gagged and bound hand and foot by stout ropes incapacitated him not only physically but magically. Casting spells required the freedom to speak and, if necessary, gesture. Unable to do either consigned the mage to dying alone in an unmarked, watery grave.
It was a moot point anyway. Temporarily powerless, he lacked even the conjuring ability of any predatory sleight of hand confidence trickster frequenting the seedier side streets of Alberion. Above him foundered the stricken Otter merchantman, wallowing upside down like a harpooned whale. Her slayer, a needle-nosed multi-oared rowboat, slowly backed away, bumping aside other objects casts overboard by the capsizing: crates, casks, and corpses galore riddled with arrows. Goblin swimmers rapidly joined the floaters as a constant rain of Elven shafts mercilessly reduced the survivors to macabre pincushions.
Maldoch found a large barrel bobbing at the surface strangely fascinating in light of the pickle he was in. Silhouetted against the strengthening sunlight, the shadowy barrel seemed to sprout...legs! That oddity was followed up by a bout of weirdness in the form of a pole with a curved end dipping into the sea from the galley heaving alongside. Watching the wooden fishing gaff hook the barrel by its “feet” then bend alarmingly under the strain as it hoisted its bulky cargo upwards clear of the water, it struck him that he had just witnessed J’tard being plucked to safety.
Any thought Maldoch entertained of being similarly gaffed was a false hope dashed against the rocks of impossibility; he had already sunk beyond the reach of rescue from the surface.
Below the choppy ocean the undersea world was deceptively tranquil. That serenity infused the doomed wizard and he ceased struggling, reconciled to his looming demise. Half expecting his life to flash before his eyes like an unfurling scroll, disappointment was the order of the day. Nothing flashed. Not even a footnote on a page from a notepad.