Above High Waters

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Chapter 2

“Omi, where were you?” Ezer asked, watching as Omi swam into his dwelling. It was a small place - a one-room home where Ezer went about his business as a tinker.

Omi didn’t answer his friend, he just moved towards the nest at the far end, laying down on it before letting out a loud sigh. Ezer rose a brow at him, dropping the knife and piece of the shell he had in his hand on the stone surface he was working at. He swam over to his friend, hovering over him as he made to run a hand through the merman’s honey-colored hair. Ezer watched as his friend smiled up at him, his green-gold specked eyes making Ezer mirror the action.

“I know you’re sad about the decision, but I’m sure you would rather be alive than die here slowly with everyone,” Ezer said, and his friend just sighed again. Ezer frowned, not knowing what to do, so he laid over Omi, resting his head on his friend’s back. “Our cove will find a new settlement. In fact, we could take the time to live among other coves. You’ve always wanted to visit Atlantis.

“What if we don’t have to move at all? What if there was a way to cure the water?” Omi suddenly asked, making Ezer pull away from him before leaving the nest. Ezer’s dwelling was a small place since he lived alone. His room was carved into solid rock, lacking the fancy architecture of homes reserved for families.

Afiba assigned things according to the needs of its merpeople. Everyone in a similar social position often shared the same sort of home styles or objects. Ezer was a tinker, and it was his duty to work with objects gathers brought from their trips. Omi was a caretaker. He spent most of his time with Merchildren and older merfolk.

“What are you talking about? Our sorcerer is dying. She’s using every ounce of magic left in her to keep the place somewhat safe for the meantime,” Ezer asked, folding his hands. He was starting to become short-tempered with his friend. He knew Omi loved Afibia, and that his overly caring nature came naturally to him, but his determination to find a way to stay was becoming annoying.

“I know what I’m talking about. There’s a different way to cure the water,” Omi said, smiling at Ezer.

“I went to the surface-”

“To do what?” Ezer asked, cutting Omi short. His voice was firm, and the frown on his face showed Omi that he was angry with him. Omi looked away from the elder Merman, adjusting his position the nest. He looked down at his floating tale, not wanting to look at Ezer. Ezer was scary when he was furious.

“I’m getting there,” Omi said, hearing Ezer let out a sigh. He knew he shouldn’t have gone up to the surface. He wasn’t a gatherer, and he had no business lurking above water. It was also especially dangerous now since the water condition was worse closer to the surface. The dwelling was silent for a while. Ezer moved to sit beside Omi, and the young merman soon turned to face him.

“I needed somewhere to be alone,” Omi started, letting his fingers play with the moss at the edge. “I went up and there was a human on shore, and no, he didn’t see me,” Omi added before smiling a bit, hoping Ezer’s frown would fade away.

“I saw him cure the water. I’m not sure how he did it, but he did,” Omi said with a smile. He watched Ezer’s face for a reaction. Ezer’s mouth hung open for a bit, but he closed it after a while before folding his hands across his chest.

“Humans don’t use magic,” he stated plainly, watching as Omi shrugged before swimming out of the nest. “Well, they haven’t been using it for a few hundred years.”

“Well this one did, though I’m not sure if it was magic exactly,” Omi said, hovering over Ezer with a grin still on his face. He could remember the man clearly. He had dark long hair and wasn’t been too tall based on human standards. “The water was dark brown and somehow he made it clear, believe me. I’m not sure what he was doing, but he seemed like he was mixing potions.”

Omi stared down at Ezer for a while, chuckling a bit before turning and swimming towards the surface where he kept his tools. “I’ll get his help, just watch me,” Omi said, picking up a piece of shell Ezer had slimmed down by breaking its sides away.

“No, you’re not going up shore anymore.” Omi turned to Ezer at his words. He frowned a bit before looking away again.

The dwelling went silent again, and Omi just fiddled with the piece of the shell until Ezer spoke up. “Get all these thoughts out of your head. We’re moving - the whole cove is moving. You have twelve moons to forget about this place. Forget about Afibia.”

“Make me.” Omi’s voice was loud. He’d turned and was now staring right at Ezer with a frown. Ezer’s blue eyes pierced his green ones. They stared at each other for a while, not saying a word. Omi looked away, feeling his face go pale.

“Sorry,” he said, realizing that he had raised his voice at his friend. He looked away from him, letting his eyes rest on anything in the small dwelling space but Ezer. Some time passed before the younger merman let out a low sigh.

“I’m leaving,” Omi said after a while, muttering another apology before swimming out the exit of Ezer’s dwelling.

He passed through other merpeople, and they looked on at him as he swam away. He was swimming fast, so much so that the particles in the water were hitting his skin like tiny bullets. He slowed down when he approached the dwelling space of the caregivers. As he made his way home he changed his mind last minute, and instead of swimming into the entrance of his dwelling, he sharply turned and swam towards the direction of the healer dwellings. The sorcerer was living amongst them for the meantime, and Omi desperately wanted to talk to her.

He made up his mind that he was going to meet the human again, and that even Ezer’s concern wouldn’t shake his decision.

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