The Lady Margaret Edit
A Kingsmouth fishing boat called the Lady Margaret was thought lost at sea, but recently returned safely to port weeks after schedule. According to the crew, they had been caught in a great storm and been forced far out to sea. Waves as tall as houses crashed relentlessly against the vessel's deck while, overhead, twisting clouds pressed down on them. The men were certain their final hour had come.
While their boat took a beating, the crew scrambled to save cargo and equipment. In their desperate attempts to secure items on deck, one of the crew members was washed overboard by a sudden swell. The crew could only watch, powerless, as their friend's head bobbed above the furious waves before disappearing in the deluge.
When the waters calmed, the men found themselves trapped in a thick fog. None of their instruments worked and their battered ship was taking on water. They tried manoeuvring, but with little to no visibility, they couldn't get their bearings and felt at the mercy of the sea.
After desperate days trapped in the fog, it suddenly parted enough for the men to see their surroundings. Everywhere around them were large hulks of ships from all ages and cultures - a ship graveyard where rusty steel and ancient wood had found a final resting place. Dhows, Viking long-boats and majestic full rigged ships soaked in the calm waters alongside hyper-modern frigates, oil tankers and luxury cruise liners, all covered with red seaweed.
The Lady Margaret drifted between the abandoned vessels and ended up next to a large raft of driftwood, upon which a strange item lay. The men grew curious - none could tell what it was. One of them, Joe Slater, jumped into the murky water and got onto the raft, and grabbed the item to take a closer look.
Immediately, the fog - thick as soup and black as night - surrounded them again, weaving itself closer as if trying to suffocate the men. The water started circling, slowly rotating their battered boat with the current. Much to the men's despair, they realised they were caught in a beginning maelstrom. Joe Slater was hauled onboard again, bringing the mysterious item with him.
Peering out toward the rotting hulks, the fishermen could see lean, slimy bodies writhing amidst the seaweed. Ancient legends drifted into the terrified crew's thoughts, mariner's tales of creatures lurking in the dark waters of the sea, all eager to satiate their hunger on any ship's crew unlucky enough to cross their path. The unfortunate fate of seamen caught in the way of monsters suddenly didn't seem so farfetched.
With the creatures on one side and a maelstrom on the other, the men scrambled to find a way to escape before they too became permanent residents of the ship graveyard. After tireless wrenching, they finally got the boat's little engine to sputter again, and with some celestial luck they navigated out of the fog. In the clear weather, their instruments sparked back to life and they immediately set course for Kingsmouth, leaving the fog and its perils behind.
Once the men were safely in port, the fishermen decided to keep the strange item they had found mostly to themselves. One of them suggested they sell the item on the Internet, while another wanted to give it to Innsmouth Academy. After all, if anyone could identify it, it would be them. They argued back and forth, but eventually decided to offer it to the esoteric school.
The very next day, the lethal fog rolled in over Kingsmouth.
Since the return of the Lady Margaret and the arrival of the fog, all but one of the crew members have died. Some perished when the fog crept in and the rest were killed by zombies or draug. Only Joe Slater is still alive. Alive, but certainly not himself anymore. Something happened to him out there, something aberrant. Perhaps it was the waters, the primordial soup he jumped into to get to the outlandish item they brought back, or perhaps it was the item itself. Whatever the source, it has since waged war upon his body, and transformed him.
Manifesting itself first as an upset stomach and violent muscle spasms, the mutation soon escalated. By now his transformation has made him truly monstrous and driven him completely insane. With limbs covered in coral growths and tentacles, and a complexion pale as death itself, Joe Slater is slowly turning into one of the draug.
Whatever it was the Lady Margaret and her crew encountered out at sea, the events in Kingsmouth are intrinsically connected to its mystery - and caused by it.