Marilla Hali Conway
Questions roamed our minds as Selene spoke to us. A mermaid turned? Why? How? Mermaids are loyal to the sea as are mermen and hurting our kind is like hurting the Ocean. Who would do such a thing? It sounds downright impossible. But Selene has never lied to us before. Never has or never will. She may be cryptic as hell but not a liar.
She’s more of a figure it out yourself type of gal. Always has been. We just get to hear her and know she’s always watching and with us. She’ll be there in a time of need and we can count on her power if need be. But we have to summon the power of the Ocean Blue to do so.
“I guess she’ll just have to feel the true power of us,” I whisper to Sereia who agrees by nodding.
“Let’s begin to do some recon about them and what we face so we can set them all free,” she says with coldness. I know she’s only doing as I am to not break through to the cottage and see our family. To make sure they are there. To hold them in our arms. Assure them we’ll all be alright and to set them free. Just so we can know it was all real. That they are real.
I look around the damn place we’ve been brought to and see the rest of the merfolk. Mostly bones but their beauty seems to shine despite it. It seems to be recovering. Their bruises seem mostly faded but none look recent. The guards seem to have some injuries as well but theirs seems different. There is just something about them... as if they were inflicted by the Ocean Blue.
“My mother’s necklace. My... our magic. I embedded it into it to keep them safe. If they have those wounds then she has to be here and if she’s here...”
“They’re all here,” I finish for her and she nods. So perhaps they are in there. I can feel the ocean blue. I can feel its power. It’s here. But we need to be precise with our escape. They need us. We aren’t safe. None of us are. We’ll have to be careful. I whirl around to feel somebody’s eyes over me as does she. Our eyes connect with a water fairy watching us intently.
His eyes never leave us. I look around at the other guards and notice the same thing. They are all watching us. All of them following us with their eyes. They don’t seem to know how much power we hold or perhaps they do by the way they are looking at us. It’s as if they are well aware of us being dangerous for their whole operation. Even the guards watching over our family have their eyes boring into us. They seem angry. Pissed.
My eyes turn to my soulmate and I can read her eyes as no one can. We’re in deep trouble. They know something. My hand reaches for hers and we intertwine our fingers as we disappear from the prison they had us into another. A pool. In water. Barriers all around us. All made of magic. Powerful barriers that wouldn’t be easy to break but not impossible.
Our legs immediately disappeared and turned into our glorious and shiny tails. Our scales soaking up the water as we held hands and looked upon judgmental eyes. Furious eyes that wanted nothing but our death. We could, will, ourselves to gain our legs but it could be premature and the merfolk could get hurt. Sereia’s eyes bore into them in a sign of defiance as did mine. We cannot allow them to see intimidation. We were queens.
The queens of the Ocean. They couldn’t break us no matter how hard they tried. They just couldn’t and it probably killed them but it changed nothing. Absolutely nothing. I send daggers with my own eyes and dare them to hurt us. To dare them to lose control. To even attempt it, just to hurt us. We need to push so we can discover more about them.
“Little fishy you killed nine of my wolves. They were our friends!” The warlock declares furious as hell and my mind flashes to the deaths. “I had thought it was someone else but Eden here was able to clear it up for me. And trust me little seafood, you will regret it,” he says through gritted teeth.
“As you understand we can’t have you corrupting the rest of the slaves so you both get your own little special treatment and spell. Can’t have them knowing yet, that their queen is among them. It would have them rebel and killed and we know you wouldn’t like that,” the siren demands.
“You damn blackbird! Betraying the sea for these? The Ocean Blue still courses through you yet you choose them over us when they would kill you in an instant?” The hell is wrong with you?” Sereia insults yet pries at the same time. The siren’s features begin to change into her vicious third figure but the witch holds her back.
“Please the merfolk feel above everyone else but we’ll show you, your true place. To serve us. Your nothing and we will capture all of them so none of you can destroy the magical community. It shall be fun to watch you squirm. See them get hurt and not be able to help them,” the witch speaks so highly about others while the siren remains pissed as hell.
“The Ocean Blue courses through your veins as it does us. You hear the water song as we all do yet you betrayed the greatest thing about being us for what?” I inquire pissed off at the siren.
“I did so for me! Because the merfolk care for no one but themselves! You all abandoned my kind and they let us live. You always thought so highly about yourselves but now you know what my kind has felt for years when the only threat to the other creatures was you. You sold us for yourselves only! Well, now it’s known as KARMA!” She snickers towards us and it takes every bit of restraint in me to not attack. To not summon the Ocean Blue and kill them all.
It would be preposterous. Absurd and counterproductive. We could get all the merfolk killed if we were still with them. Goddess I hope so. I had to let the soft humming of the water song drown out the anger from my veins for the good of my people. Mated or not to a vampire, I was always a mermaid. They would always be my people. Always and forever.
I could see Sereia breathing deeply to control her even more erratic and explosive temperament as we stared them down. Head held high and shoulders firm to declare dominance in some way. Triumph over them. We were winning even if trapped in a water prison. We could get out. We were stronger and powerful beyond limits. We could do this. We have handled difficult and near damn impossible pain. This was nothing. Nothing.
I interlace our hands to let her know, even if silently, that she had my unwavering support. But at the same time to calm her down so she wouldn’t unleash our power too soon and our people to die because we were careless. Despite the pain, despite the hurt, the loss... we were queens. Great queens. The queens of the Sea. The merfolk came first. Our family came first but overall our unwavering love for the sea. To the Ocean Blue. To the water.
“Lies. We didn’t sell you or your kind out. We are both the children of the sea. They may have placed those lies within you but they aren’t true,” I respond to her in a calm and neutral tone. Normal voice and a with a strong voice.
“Please she knows better than to believe your lies webbed feet,” the witch quickly intervenes knowing full well I’m right. I’m the queen of the Sea. The chosen one. Whether married to Leith or not I will always be the chosen queen of the Sea. I didn’t need to be married to him. I just was. I could summon its deepest and dormant powers. I could unearth every secret and drop of it. I bore the power alongside Sereia and we could sway the sirens back to our side.
In the end, they are the children of the sea as well. They may be different from us and live different lives but they still heard the water song. They could feel the Ocean Blue in their hearts. The tides crashing against them like someone caressing a lover. It was possible to set them right from their wrong. I didn’t like them but in a way, they were just like us. Cursed but like us.
Legend did have it they were once like us but they were cursed by one of our own and a witch. They bear the heart of a mermaid. Sereia and I could return it to its original state. We were the most powerful beings in existence. Ever not just now.
“Do my feet look webbed to you? Come up with better insults broom loving bitch who just loves to ruin lives,” Sereia exclaims.
“I’m only protecting the magical community from the likes of you,” the witch snickers at her.
“Enough! Tell us how to find the Kings of the Sea! Now!” Edlin exclaims and I gaze at her unable to hide my astonishment. She really thinks I would really let her hurt Leith. The man I loved? Maybe not enough to remain faithful or enough to choose him over Ascelin but a part of me did love him. Perhaps always will. But I will not serve him on a silver platter to the hunters. I rather die.
“I would rather die than tell you a word! Die! Just because you have us in a water prison and at the mercy of, you fools does not mean I am betraying him. I am his future to be wife and nothing you say can have me tell you where to find him!” I tell her off unable to hold my anger.
I will protect Leith and Ronan with everything in me. Perhaps we even made it out before our twenty-fifth birthday so that Sereia can marry Ronan and I ask for Leith’s forgiveness. I have to protect them both with my life. Just because I was mated to a vampire doesn’t mean I’m going to renounce to my people and Leith was their salvation.
“You will learn to change your mind. A little time in solitude and me killing off every merfolk I can. After all, they just seek the downfall of all of our kinds,” Edlin crouches down to us, gazing directly into our eyes and making a viable threat.
“Go ahead and try. I am their queen and I will protect them. Water prison or not,” Sereia declares to her with unwavering courage. I squeeze her hand and hold my head high before them.
“Don’t worry, I’ll have you watch. Those creatures you so effortlessly and cruelly killed were our friends. I don’t forgive princess and you will come to regret ever messing with them because I will not stop until I have abdicated your kind from existence!” Edlin says losing her calmness and disappearing with the rest of the hunters just as the water slashes out but stops at the confinements of our cell. Jumping back onto us and burning onto our skin.
“Copper,” Sereia whispers looking around and I follow her every glance. Everything here is laced in copper. Including the floors of the pool of water, we were in. Copper was even laced in the barrier that contained us. Smart. They were holding us and weakening us. Which is why we don’t bear guards. They don’t need to. One wrong move and any healthy mermaid or merman would die by just attempting escape.
We were the only thing preventing each other from hurting. From being affected by the copper. As if being together was making us immune to it. Which made the water song weak. It left us to their mercy. It left our people at their mercy. Something that prevented them from going home. And most never fought it for the same reason we’re here. For our family.
“This doesn’t change anything Sereia. They deserve to have their family in their arms as we do. They deserve to go back even if we stay,” I say with all the conviction I can.
“I know. We serve the Ocean Blue. Atargatis will give us strength. The water and the Ocean Blue power and Selene will guide us through this. We will go through it. We will all survive.”
“I trust in you. I begin and end with you. Even if my heart belongs to someone else, my soul shall always be yours. We are soulmates. We just bear different forever loves. We are one and the same. I just hope...”
“They are, I can feel them. I can feel the magic. They’re here. I may be a captive but I have you this time. I’m not alone. We will find a way out of this together. I was able to escape my last monster and now I have you. I have you,” Sereia silently whispers to herself and I squeeze her hand.
“We can do this Sereia. You’re not alone. I’m here. We’ll face this monster together. I will kill this monster for you if it comes to it. We’re together. Together. You and I against the world. We swim together. We drown together,” I whisper back to her and she nods absent-mindedly.
“We swim together. We drown together. You and I against the world. I’m scared Marilla. Deep within me, I fear if we can’t. We’ve ran from them our entire lives and now we stand at their mercy. I’m scared we don’t get to make this right for our kind,” Sereia confesses in a soft breath and I lay my head on her shoulder.
“I know and so am I but they have faith in us. I have faith in us. We’re strong we can survive this. We can set them free. I know what you mean but we have to be strong. We have to for them. You’re the strongest person I know and together we can do anything. I love you,” I assure her and she nods.
“I love you too. I just, I’m scared. That man broke me. He had me on a table cutting time and time into me. Discovering the secrets of our kind. He was in alliance with these monsters before he was killed. I’m just fearful of how much they are armed to hurt us,” she confesses and I release her hand to wrap my arms around her in a hug.
“You and I aren’t like everyone else. We can actually save them all. The Ocean Blue reigns in our heart,” I whisper in her ear as reassurance. “You aren’t with that man. You’re with me and we will fight these monsters. Take them down. Free our people. We are queens.”
“Their parents are dead Marilla. Diondra and Jorah are dead,” she begins hyperventilating letting the pain in. A mistake that we can NOT make. We can’t feel any emotion right now. Emotion will get us all killed. It’s hard but if they discover anything we... We have to be strong. We can’t grieve right now. We can’t. It hurts but it will hurt more if we get them killed. We’re cold. We can be cold. We’re mermaids. We’re queens. We are water.
I pull away from her and place my hands over her arms. My eyes glued to her own. Conveying my words already to her without even wording them. Letting a few stray tears fall from my eyes as I prepare myself for my next words. The words both her and I need to hear but want to ignore. But we can’t. I have to voice them not for us but for them. The merfolk.
“I know but now is not the time Ser... If we break down now. What will be of our people? We’re the only ones to save them. They don’t know. We have to push our feelings and emotions aside. Our people need us Our kind needs us to save them. I couldn’t save you from your own monster but we can save them from an even bigger monster. Ser but I can’t do this without you so please I’m asking... no begging you to bury it and tune out the emotions.”
She nods while releasing a soft sob and tears streaking over her face. She begins to breathe deeply and in unison with me as our eyes never falter from the other. We compose ourselves and tune out the emotion from this away from our hearts and into the distance. We both need this. Need to set our hearts aside and use our brains. We need to be clear-headed. It’s the only way. We have to save our people even if it ends with our lives as price or collateral.
“Alright. We can’t feel right now. We have to focus on saving them all. We have to save them all. Our family, the merfolk, all of them,” Sereia speaks while nodding as the last traces of emotion leave her. She nods in a rhythm with her heartbeat as if assuring herself that this will all be alright. It will all be alright. It will be. We will save them. We can and have to.
Our family has been broken long enough. The Ocean Blue had been paying the price for the broken families. We have to discover the root of this all and free everyone. Everyone. It was the best and the only thing to do.
“Let’s begin to save them all,” Sereia conveys and I nod as we interlace hands and send soft and discreet waves of water. Feeling our power radiate as we snooped everything we could. A water spell undetected to the creatures surrounding us because to anyone’s eyes died with one mermaid. Atargatis. But we bear it. Always did. The power she held along with much more that even she couldn’t bear. It was possible. We could. We will save them all and these hunters won’t know until it’s too late. As long as everything went to plan, they wouldn’t know until it was too late.