A Sea of Pearls

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Nikolette Lammont spent her life growing up by the shores of her home, Trekfort; a quiet town of fishmongers. The still waters shadowed the dull roar of her ordinary life. When a young boy is killed in the town square, Nikolette finds herself drawn into the murky details of an ancient civilization, Meridians, living deep within the ocean. Her curiosity pulls her into the middle of a centuries-long feud between two clans. Suddenly submerged into a kingdom below the waves, Nikolette must discover her position in the fight while learning the meaning of her only possession- a pearl given to her by her mother. When the Kingdom's leaders begin to disappear, Nikolette joins the forces Commander, Callan, to find them. Though Callan's flirtatious nature and haughty attitude are bothersome to Nikolette, she knows he is worried- because the Kingdom's celebration of its history is nearing and with each missing leader also disappears their pearl of power, and the protection they offer. Nikolette races against an unknown foe to uncover her own power, before she disappears next.

Fantasy / Romance
Age Rating:

Chapter One

I always had eyes on the sea. My mother teases that she'd feed me salt water instead of milk as a baby. From the moment dawn broke, I'd be rushing down to the shores. The gentle lapping of the waves on my sandy feet was the only medicine I ever needed. Being fascinated by the water had been as simple as it was for me to breathe. The early azure sky cascaded its magnificent glow upon each ripple in the water underneath. One wave pushed against the other, as if persuading to test the sea. Surging water edged closer to the shores, whispering its circadian tune to avid listeners.

I adored the shores of my home, Trekfort. The village itself was small, miniscule compared to the neighboring port towns that house our country, Baercroft's militia and higher class citizens. Trekfort belonged to the fishermen, mounted trophies of various sized fish lined nearly every door I passed. The Mongers Hold constantly smelled of a variety of fresh and rotted fish, the incongruous meld often making my own eyes spring to tears. However, it was where I found myself every afternoon, to sell my day's catch to Tusk. She sold the best fish between all the vendors, mostly because I knew the best fishing spots, secluded from the rest of of Trekfort.

I clicked my tongue at the descending sun, cursing it for ending my frolic. I released the hold I had on my skirt, an unnecessarily long drab of fabric, and watched as the water gradually crawled up, soaking as much as it could. Once the drenched cloth suctioned around my ankles, I sloshed through the shallow waves, taking my attention back to the shore. Mother would be furious when she saw my skirt, sure to claim the ocean's foul scent would linger in the house all night. I clenched my toes into the soft grains of sand as I walked, eagerly anticipating her reaction.

"Tusk's not gonna be too happy if this is all you managed to get!" I hadn't noticed Neal Guilner's tall, lanky frame standing coolly beside the metal pail I'd brought with. He was peering in at the three obsidian clams at the bottom.
I shrugged my shoulders as I waded into the shallows and noted the way the diminishing day reflected in Neal's deep, amber eyes. "Fish weren't biting." I dipped down and flicked a handful of water at him, chuckling loudly when he shrieked and hopped out of the way. The dry sand clamped upon my legs and skirt, soaking up the water, as I grabbed the pail and strode by Neal, letting him trail after me.

He fell in line to the left of me and bumped his hip into mine. "They weren't biting or you didn't try long enough to find out?"

"Whatever could you mean?" I feigned innocence and picked at the low hanging branches as we walked through the trees. The shoreline I went to every day was the farthest south Trekfort went; I came here so often there was a worn down path made into the dirt. The forest was difficult to navigate, myself and Neal frequenting enough we could travel through with our eyes closed.

"I know how much time you spend watching the sea."

"I hope your statement has a purpose." I shifted my hip back to this, though I had to lift myself higher to do so, Neal was much taller than me, the top of my head met his chin. He pursed his already thin lips, making them nearly invisible and tugged the bucket out of my hand.

"My point, dear Nik, is that I know you. The days you spend lost in the waves are when you catch," he lifted the bucket close to my face for emphasis, "only clams." I shoved his shoulder, though he barely moved. Neal was thin, but his muscles had strong definition and I was unable to budge him. This was largely due to the fact that Neal was the oldest of five children. His family lived in the necessitous part of the village, far to the northwest where the Hold was located. Each household was worse off than the next, something I often brought to my father's attention, though he showed little interest.

Neal was eighteen, a great deal older than the next child at six; the heavy duty responsibilities fell upon him. He could usually be found outside, chopping wood, and that was where our paths would cross on my way to meet Tusk each day. Today was a pleasant surprise, he must have finished his work early. "Clams are fine. Tusk will take what I give her."

"Please let me be present when you tell her that." I rolled my eyes at his comment, but made a point not to tell him that I would never say that to her. I'd rather defy my father against his dying breath than go head to head with Tusk.
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