Chapter 16: Fairy Tales of Days Past
"Ugh!” Serena groans as she collapses to the ground—a tired expression on her face.
The mermaid’s—temporarily known as Eldoris—face is passive. She gazes upon Serena with a blank look—the box in her hands glowing more than it did before.
Serena mutters, “Why is it so hard?” She glances up at the Eldoris.
“Tis hard because you are making it so,” sighs Eldoris. “You are allowing your current predicament to influence and strengthen your emotion. So, of course it is harder.”
A scowl is Serena’s response.
But Eldoris smiles. “Allow yourself to relax. Let yourself think of this moment and let everything fall away.”
Serena chews on her bottom lip for a brief moment before exhaling and standing up once more. A resolute look takes its place in those indigo eyes that stare so intently at the box before her.
Her eyes slide shut and her face tightens in concentration.
The box begins to emit a brighter light as it absorbs the particles of light coming from Serena.
However, a scowl sits upon Eldoris’s face. The girl isn’t as close to being done as she should be.
A storm of tumultuous emotions still retain their place in the girl’s heart.
She’s probably only holding them subconsciously due to the reality of her situation.
After all, her life had been turned upside down several months ago and she’s become involved with a world that’s not her own.
Many conflicting feelings would naturally come with such a predicament. And sealing them away like they’re doing now is expectedly difficult. The only issue aside from the matter of sealing them is the potential for this box to break open.
There’s no telling what would happen then and there’s far too many questions to take such a possibility lightly.
But there’s hardly any other options to employ at this point.
Ever has this unsettling feeling been weighing heavily on her mind. And born from it an urgency.
Serena needs to break free of this curse. This, she understands.
Although, there’s the question of how long it shall take the sorcerer to find the answer to breaking the curse.
What they’re doing here now is hardly going to be enough to break it. This is simply the first step that should weaken the curse.
A curse derived from the torment of others and designed to converge it all within one’s own mind. Only Proteus could concoct so horrific a punishment for the meddling of others.
Her scowl deepens then at the thought. How is it that she knows of all this again?
She briefly glances about her as Serena begins to grimace in her concentration.
Could it be that time is trying to resume itself here? How can that be? For the most part, Serena has regained some semblance of control over her more destructive emotions.
And destructive emotions like fear and anger are what empower the curse. They just so happen to be the two emotions that is most difficult to put inside this box.
Is she slipping? Eldoris refocuses her attention to stare intently into Serena’s face.
Her brow begins to twitch as she squeezes her eyes shut tighter.
The box shatters out of existence and a strange wind begins to blow in with such powerful fury.
The voices increase in volume and an image comes forth.
Unlike its counterparts, this one isn’t blurry. Rather it’s blindingly bright.
And it quickly engulfs them both into but one of a sea of forgotten memories…
“Such a strange little human you are,” murmurs a creature with elfin features.
Eldoris blinks, slowly beginning to take in her surroundings.
Eldoris turns to the sources of the voices—her eyes widening ever so slightly.
A young Serena—clutching tightly to a stuffed unicorn—stares up upon the intimidating figure of a fae creature looming over her.
“You are not quite like the others,” he says gently—stroking her head with such care.
Eldoris’s gaze narrows. Clearly, this is a memory from the past, but however did Serena come into contact with the fae?
And no ordinary fae either from the looks of it.
He carefully holds a silver fur coat in his arms.
A selkie, and a large one at that if the length of his coat is anything to go off of.
But his coat also implies that he is a species of selkie that should be dwelling further south somewhere in the Antarctic Sea. What is the world is he doing so far north?
Meanwhile, Serena seems perfectly oblivious to the potential danger standing before her.
But she doesn’t attempt to ask anymore questions. Mostly due to the interruption of a woman running up from behind her.
“Rena!” she cries out in a panic. Wisps of pure blonde hair fall into her face from her braid as her frantic blue gaze focuses in on the child.
It’s obvious that this woman is her mother. The woman whom Serena holds so dear to her heart—the source of her agony.
The woman glares at the selkie—an uncertain glint in her eyes. She appears to be estimating how far and how fast she can run with her daughter in her arms.
Eldoris isn’t certain if Serena’s mother knows the nature of the man before her. Yet it’s clear that she’s aware of a lurking sense of danger that moves her to protect her child.
It’s an obvious reaction, for she, herself, knows it only all too well. But from where is the true question.
“It seems the fun has been spoiled for today,” chuckles the man.
The sound of his voice draws Eldoris’s attention back to him.
He gives a flourishing bow. “For now, I shall bid you farewell, little mortal.” And with that the memory ends with Serena’s mother hugging her tightly to her and whispering into her hair.
Yet Eldoris can’t hear them as the memory dissolves and she’s left standing in that endless void once more.
“How strange…” she murmurs. Though she’s not granted much time to contemplate on it before she suddenly finds that she’s not alone.
Turning her head, she sees Serena, kneeling on the ground. Her gaze is fixed on the space before her, but nothing is there. Her eyes are wide and her hands frozen mid-air as though she had been holding something prior to her appearance.
“Serena?” calls Eldoris.
The girl blinks rapidly before turning her eyes up to the word’s source.
“W-what just happened? What was that memory? I—”
“Calm yourself, child,” says Eldoris in a soothing tone. She approaches Serena and strokes her head gently. “This means that we are succeeding in our task. As we continue to manage your emotions, more and more of your memories will be revealed to you.”
Serena falls silent for a moment—her lips tightly pressed together.
It’s no easy thing to face unknown memories. Especially if they must be experienced by casting turbulent emotions into a box to be sealed away.
A look of conviction gleams within her eyes. “Let’s continue.”
Eldoris nods; materializing the box within her hands once more. “Let us focus upon your anger for the time being and go slow, we need not rush things.”
Serena nods her head, taking a deep breath before closing her eyes.
Eldoris smiles lightly. “I shall assist you this time so you are not as overwhelmed.”
Serena looks as though she has questions, but she doesn’t attempt to voice them.
Eldoris holds the box out, allowing Serena to place her hands on either side of the box.
It begins to draw out that light once again as Eldoris begins to emit a sea foam green glow of her own. She closes her eyes, allowing herself to be immersed within Serena’s emotions.
At first, it’s a dark place. Though the darkness lasts only a moment before a blazing fire like nothing she’s ever seen rises before her.
Such fury! What anger must this girl harbor for it to have grown like this? And if her anger is like this, then what of her other emotions?
Eldoris has no physical body of her own, but she’s able to feel the heat as though her body truly were physical. It sears her skin and causes her blood to boil. Beads of sweat accumulate at her brow as she tries to quell the inferno.
And it’s made all the worse when she suddenly feels Serena trying to expel it all at once.
“Slowly, Serena! Such rage cannot be forced out all at once!” Eldoris cries out, but somehow she’s not certain if her words even reached Serena or not.
Although, after what feels like an eternity the flames die down.
It seems that Serena is regaining control once more.
Good. So long as she eases this emotion out, then they shouldn’t face any such flames again for the time being. Yet anger is a difficult thing to deal with.
Eldoris isn’t so naïve as to truly think that they’ll be able to seal it with hardly any fuss.
That’s the simplistic wishful thinking of an unworldly child. As she thinks about this, the surrounding temperature decreases to where it’s more comfortable than what it had been.
The flames have also died down to flickering embers that show no signs of proving to be a threat any longer.
From these efforts, another memory comes forth.
“What a little darling! Pretty as a princess! Is that not so, Pandora?”
Eldoris quickly turns to the voice’s source.
An older mermaid languishes upon a rock, much to close to the shore with a merchild with auburn hair that lingers beside her.
There’s a peculiar look in the girl’s dark eyes.
On the shore, stands a wide-eyed Serena. She appears older than in the last memory. Perhaps eleven or twelve?
“Y-you’re a real mermaid!” she exclaims.
This elicits a chuckle from the mermaid who smiles serenely in Serena’s direction.
“Indeed and you are a precious human child,” she replies mirthfully.
The child, Pandora, looks less than enthused with the whole situation but maintains her silence none the less.
“Mother, may we leave?” Pandora murmurs quietly, but her answer is a warning look that forces her back into silence.
“Who are you?” Serena asks, daring to come closer to the pair.
The mermaid smiles once more. “A friend, dear girl. I wish to show you a world more wonderful than any you could ever imagine.”
There are stars in Serena’s eyes as she listens.
Of course, a child would be taken in by such things, Eldoris laments.
Yet this doesn’t appear to be the case.
Serena regains control of herself, instead fixing the pair with a skeptical look.
“My mommy says I shouldn’t go with strangers. In fact, I shouldn’t even be speaking to them.” Serena pauses a moment and continues, “Besides, I have no reason to believe that anything you say is true. And I could just be dreaming for all I know. After all, everyone knows that mermaids don’t really exist.”
Eldoris smiles. It seems that Serena was no simple child back then if this exchange is anything to go off of.
This doesn’t seem to bother the mermaid though.
What in the world could she possibly want?
“Rena! Rena where are you?” A boy’s voice brings a swift end to the exchange.
The mermaid furrows her brow for a bit before turning back to Serena.
“I hope we meet again, little one. Until then…” The mermaid beckons to Pandora, and the two swiftly disappear beneath the sea once more.
Moments later, an older boy runs up to come to a stop beside Serena.
Eldoris recognizes him right away.
This is the eldest brother, Caspian. A reoccurring face she’s seen many times in the surface of Serena’s mind.
Like the last memory, their voices fade out of hearing and the memory dissolves once again.
When Eldoris reemerges, she finds Serena collapsed on the ground breathing heavily.
It seems sealing these emotions coupled with reviving forgotten memories is beginning to take its toll.
Eldoris frowns. “We shall rest for now. We will resume when you have regained your breath.”
Serena doesn’t even bother to reply—choosing to focus on composing herself.
Eldoris looks down at the box in her hands.
The thing isn’t even half full, and much of that anger still remains deeply embedded within Serena’s heart.
They still have quite a ways to go after all...