Chapter 1 - Tidal Crash
My father warned me that the sea was alive; right now, the sea was killing me.
I used to laugh at my father’s reminders of the Great Legend—surely they were nothing more than old pirate’s tales to pass the time. Surely.
I stopped laughing as the sea water filled my lungs and my body was dragged into the depths below. Thrashing against the forces holding me back, I reached out to the surface. I scrambled to stay afloat and latch onto something—anything—that could secure my survival.
I sunk deeper.
The pressure on my body overwhelmed me. Even from under the sea, I could see the storm brewing just outside my reach. A flash illuminated my world. Cold seeped through my clothes and through my veins; a darkness unknown to me enveloped my vision. The last thing I saw was an angular face unlike my own staring me down.
A shrill voice called out to me amidst the—no, not darkness. The sky was blinding. I jerked awake, recoiling from the pain deep in my shoulders and back.
“Oh, good! You’re alive!”
I sputtered out some seawater, as if to emphasize the voice’s point. Shielding a weathered hand from the sun, I turned to stare at the source of the voice: a tanned, vaguely human face with green scales lining their cheeks and a grin that could pierce me harder than any harpoon could. It took me a moment to fully take their form in, especially considering the lower half of their body was submerged in the sea around us. Occasionally, a long green and black tail would pop out of the water, swaying to and fro.
That could only mean one thing.
“Get— Get back!” I attempted to scramble away from them. The surface of the rocks under me grazed against my skin.
“Nonono— don’t move! You’re still not healed up completely...”
They frowned. I mirrored them as they reached out towards my shaking arm. I squinted; the cuts I’d gained stung, but didn’t bleed out. A thought rang out in my clouded mind: What other injuries did I get?
“Why... What are you...” My words came out more slurred than intended.
“I’m trying to help you,” they replied. It was then that I became aware of my exposed leg, now wrapped in seaweed and another binding element I couldn’t quite place my finger on.
Not that I could even attempt to in this state. Everything ached to the West Winds and back.
“Who...” I attempted to gesture a hand in the siren’s general direction, then winced. Instant regret. Pain seized my hand, making me writhe on the rocky shore below me. The siren finished my sentence for me, flashing a toothy grin.
“Tazeth. You must be Davon.”
I sat up again, much to Tazeth’s dismay.
“How do you know who I am? Why— why haven’t you eaten me yet? Or— Or worse yet—”
“Tsk. So you really believe the stuff your shipmates tell you, huh?” Tazeth rolled their deep brown eyes, leaning against the rock and propping themselves up with an arm.
“Do you think we all do that?”
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” I snapped, clenching my teeth. “I’ve—”
“Well, you’re still alive, aren’t you?”
I huffed. My eyes finally adjusted to the sky. Thankfully, the ominous, billowing grey storm clouds were gone. In fact, all clouds were absent for miles. Slowly, reluctantly, I turned my head to face Tazeth’s.
“I’ve cheated death twice so far. This is just another tally of mine against fate.”
I followed the siren’s gaze. Their eyes flitted over my body. Although I was already covered—save for one of my boots that was missing—I felt a sinking feeling of vulnerability.
“That makes two of us.”