Marilla Hali Conway
“Don’t hurt me please! Please! My queen, please don’t hurt me!” One of the remaining merfolk still in captivity beg her. She gives it thought with a smile and soon it turns wicked.
“I would never hurt my subjects as long as they obey,” she says with venom dripping off her every word. As if she wouldn’t. “As long as you bow to me and not them,” she adds while staring us down. “So prove it, and bow to me!”
The mermaid looks at her in both fear and worry before Marna shoves her to the ground. The mermaid lifts her eyes to meet ours with a look of pure shame in them. I rattle my chains pissed off at her treatment of our kind. Our people. Good or bad she’s still one of us. Yet she turns it away for a warlock who is only using her because of her blood relation to Nawfar.
“Now kiss my feet and the ones of your King!” She demands as Edor approaches them. Sereia rattles the copper chains that bound her to an extension of the pool while I rather mine from the other extension. I rattle the damn chains trying to release myself from them to only have them tighten and burn my tail and body.
“You damn maniacal bitter sea,” Sereia shouts towards her.
“Silence slave,” Edor hushes her by bounding her lips by a silence spell. Sereia fights and screams with all her might, but the chains only tighten, and not a sound comes out of her lips. The mermaid is humiliated as she kisses both their feet. How dare they! How dare she! She’s one of her own! Forcing her to kiss her feet is one thing, but the man who ruined the lives of merfolk for centuries?
“I ain’t you damn slave!” I yell for Sereia as I slam the reinforced magical glass hoping it breaks, but the same force I used is retaliated back to me and I’m thrown to the opposing glass. My tail burns even further as the copper burns into my tail. I grunt in pain as Sereia is being tightened by her own chains.
“Quit fighting it, you’ll only hurt yourself further in the end,” Marna voices.
“He’s only using you!” I scream at her but she laughs at my words as he slams the mermaid back into her own prison.
“How would you know peasant? He would never do such a thing, but that’s because you don’t know him like I do,” she boasts. Who would want to know the person who practically ruined all of our lives? That’s what he did and that includes her own.
“He killed Nawfar and Murel not to mention King Lycaon because Murel was his mate. Nawfar rejected him and...”
“I don’t need you to tell me the semantics. I know them perfectly well,” she interrupts me with an eye roll.
“How could you be okay with all of this? How could you murder your own parents? How can you want to hurt your brothers when they love you? They would have renounced claim to the throne for you. All of them so, why side with this...”
“Careful how you speak of my forever love,” she warns me revealing his claim over her. Hurting him will cause her pain. Killing him will kill her. There is no clear path in ending the suffering the pain of the merfolk and protecting my brother. She’s brainwashed and she could reach the hidden cities on the Ocean Floor. She could destroy us and make all his plans possible.
I don’t think she can be swayed. There is no coming back from killing your own parents and harming the merfolk. There just isn’t. She hasn’t just betrayed the moon goddess, Atargatis, and the Ocean Blue. She’s betrayed her own family not to mention herself. But she dying would hurt Leith and Ronan. She’s their sister. But she living would destroy the merfolk. She bore just as much power as Venilia if not greater. She bore Sereia and I’s the type of magic.
“How can you stand by him? He ruined all of our lives! He’s the reason we grew up the way we did!” I scream at her fighting my chains even more determined but it squeezes around me.
“Marilla how about you close your damn mouth instead?” She hisses at me while suffocating me with her own magic. Using the water to create dark magic? The water, in the tank we’re being held in, turns pitch black and begins to suffocate us. Boil like a volcano and as icky as quicksand. Sereia and I’s hair begins to glow white as our magic counteracts hers and the chains loosen up a bit. The water surrounding us begins to light up with our hair.
She’s wrong if she thinks this will break us. She’s wrong. It won’t be. I have more determination now to fight. Everything is on the line. I will figure out a way to escape her damn prison. To break free from these enchanted chains and bring her down. Sereia and I can overpower her. She won’t win. She won’t harm the merfolk or any of the ones I care about.
I need to be strong. I need to think about my family. Sereia. Ascelin. I need to keep reminding myself to be better than she. To not fall for her provocations. Otherwise, I won’t be able to escape and I need to. I need to be able to do so. I have to keep strong. I have to get out now more than ever.
Roul Lycaon Wolfram
“Alright, the wolves will go up from the east. The witches from the west. The merfolk from the north and the vampires from the south,” Merise declares and I nod. Leith and Ronan are deathly silent. There couldn’t be more animosity between them and us. Sereia is mine. Mine alone. Knowing they were together infuriates me and Ethelwulf but what can we do. He’s her past and he’s married to her sister now. I’m still surprised I didn’t recognize her as mine.
I should have. I should have been able to know that she was my mate. Every wolf feels it. It’s not something that can be hidden. It shouldn’t have taken her telling me to know she was my mate. Ethelwulf and I should have known. I’m the werewolf king for goddess sake and I couldn’t even recognize my own mate. What the hell is that meant to mean?
But looking at it back it seems so obvious with the way I felt about her. Conflicting feelings arising when I remember every memory and interaction between us both. She was the only one capable of challenging me, and I liked it. She defied me at every turn. She was immune to my orders or commands. It only made her laugh. She was strong. She killed over four werewolves while being held captive here. She never showed weakness and seemed to know more about my palace than I did.
She found the secret room my grandfather had of his own paintings. Although I don’t recognize the woman he painted himself with. Neither her nor the other ones in the water. My grandmother was his mate. They had two sons. My father and uncle. They had to grow up without him because he was murdered. My grandmother was heartbroken. It took her a century to overcome his loss and try a new relationship. She still refused to mate him after being together for so long.
“Merise what can we expect?” Leomaris Hanon inquires.
“They will be guarded and in copper,” Merise explains. Copper. My mind flashes back to when I found Sereia. A bullet grazed in about every weakness known to magical creatures. Except for copper. It was meant for her. Sereia. The copper was for her. “It won’t be easy. By now they know Sereia and I are sisters and they will be furious.”
“He’ll have them in an inescapable prison. The pool will be made of pure copper. It will be guarded by a barrier from the strongest magic. It’s impossible to escape it so if you do find it. Do not touch it. It will zap any merfolk any drop of water. It can only be undone with magic. Witch magic,” Venilia Hanon is quick to add.
“It is imperious that you find the leaders. The king and queen of the entire operation. They escape and...” Earendil Conway begins to speak but never gets to finish the thought.
“Dammit!” Merise screams as she throws the map and everything else on the table to the floor.
“Little wave, what’s wrong?” Venilia is quick to ask.
“They aren’t there anymore. They’ve been moved. I don’t know where they are right now other than they are in pain,” Merise answers her.
“How would you know that? We haven’t even stormed the place,” Ascelin questions her.
“We don’t need to. They aren’t there and it’s a trap. We will die if we do so. Their followers will die for the cause,” Merise snaps at him.
“We’ll go and storm the place,” Ronan declares ignoring her comments.
“Back to where it began... back... where.... began...” Merise mutters shortly after.
“Merise what is it?” Earendil asks her.
“They went back to the beginning. The beginning. Of what. The rejection. The sighting. The... That’s it! It’s so obvious!”
“Little wave where are they?” Venilia asks her.
“The beginning! They’re at the beginning! They’re at the beginning of...” Merise declares excited before going deathly silent with tears streaming her eyes.
“Little wave, what is it? What do you see?” Venilia asks her.
“The queen lies. Beware of the queen... she lies... the queen lies... beware...” we all hear the melodic whisper through the wind.
“She lies. She lies,” Merise voices before becoming water before our eyes and disappearing shortly after.
“Merise!” Venilia screams running to the exact spot she was standing on with Earendil and Leomaris. “The queen she lies. She lies!” She screams as Nerice Conway nears her before they all disappear shortly after.
“Where did they go?” Ascelin voices the unknown question as he steps foot on the place they all seem to have vanished from.
“Ascelin, don’t stand there you could vanish with them!” Calista warns him with a raised voice.
“I can’t feel anything. Magic or anything related,” Ascelin says pensively. “Seaton?” He asks and my eyes turn to Sereia and Marilla’s brother. He turns to water in seconds before it bursts everywhere and there’s no sign of him.
“Marlin!” Lorelei screams as her beloved is gone.
“Are they dead?” I inquire and Leith looks at the two places confused;
“It can’t be...” he voices and our eyes turn to him.
“What can’t be?” Ascelin asks him.
“They aren’t dead. They were summoned by a water spell. A spell only capable of being performed by a powerful mermaid,” Ronan answers my question.
“So Marilla and Sereia summoned them?” Calista inquires.
“They would never place their family in such danger!” Ronan snaps at her.
“You said a powerful mermaid. How do we distinguish which mermaid summoned them then?” Jora asks.
“You speak as if the merfolk are as powerful as they once were. Powerful mermaids are scarce and only a handful of them are powerful enough to use this spell,” Ronan speaks contemptuously to Jora.
“Well aren’t all merfolk powerful?” She asks ignoring his tone of voice.
“No. Our kind has had to mingle with humans. Our powers, magic, and strength have waned through time. We aren’t nearly as powerful as we once were. We could all create storms and bring the oceans upon the territories. But we were forced out of the Ocean and had to mix with humans only returning to the ocean in small intervals. Not enough to nurse the Ocean back to full power. Only a handful of merfolk are known to hold power such like this,” Leith answers her with an eye-roll.
“How many can do this?”
“To our knowledge? Nine. Sereia, Marilla, Merise, Earendil, Venilia, a merman in the deepest parts of the mountains towards the deepest parts of the Ocean, Caspian, a reclusive mermaid in the fiery volcanos of the deep and the other one is deceased,” Ronan answers. “With time as we breathe full life to the Ocean, the merfolk’s magic and power shall be restored. Therefore, we’ll all be able to use this type of magic. But for now, it’s limited to nine.”
“So, let’s search for the other two who live and can use this time of magic,” I declare but Leith Dover shakes his head.
“There’s no need. I already know who’s magic this is. All merfolk magic has its unique trace and I happen to know this one well,” Leith voices still with a puzzled expression.
“You do? Then who is it? Let’s go in search of the merperson responsible and bring them here to ...”
“You can’t,” he interrupts Jora.
“And why is that?” Calista questions him.
“Because she’s dead,” he states void of any feeling.
“Dead? The dead can’t summon people,” Ascelin says in a short and irritated voice. Being away from Marilla is wreaking havoc on him. I feel the same way knowing Sereia’s my mate and the situation she is in, but she and I aren’t formally mated. He and Marilla are. Being away from his forever love and in this situation is ruining him.
“Leith, whose magic is this?” Ronan asks his brother confused.
“Briny’s,” Leith answers him and Ronan gets the same lost expression on his own features. Who is this Briny?
“Who is she?” Jora asks directly.
“Marna Briny Dover. My sister. She died years ago when she was fifteen,” Leith answers her, and we’re left startled. Dead. Our only lead is dead. How are we meant to find Marilla and Sereia now? Not to mention their family.