15] A Fractured Clan
15] A Fractured Clan
I was at the bay, Eros was standing beside me, glaring at the ocean after we had a yelling match in the castle. While I expected him to come chasing after me, he had held himself back. I could see that he was forcing patience.
While darkness was settling over the waves, I was waiting for him to walk into the water first. We were going to meet the Clan of Ezili, after all.
I remember his words… I can destroy the confidence of a Coral army when my own army of Erebos come to take back what is ours. The Belle Island… submissive to Erebos… and punished for their crimes…
I wondered if he had hordes of Erebos, loyal to his word, just waiting to surge forth and reclaim the island.
I would soon find out.
Now, I stare out at the Rough and I feel my heart beating calm. My fear of the ocean was cured, but that didn’t mean I felt comfortable swimming in the darkness of night.
A small wave washes in over our toes as Eros stands tall and naked, ten feet away from me.
“Are we going in or not?” I ask.
“I’m thinking, half-wit,” he snaps.
“…my sincere apologies,” I can’t help my sarcasm. My butt wasn’t tingling anymore but it was still pink. I glance over my shoulder at my backside and frown – just as Eros steps across the distance and his palm comes flying down through the air, smacking along my sore butt… in a half-hearted spank.
“Don’t disrespect me,” he snarls low into my ear and I go to jump forward, but he winds an arm around my waist and pulls me into his naked front.
“When you do get to know me better, Eros, you’ll know I don’t… take orders, lightly,” I hadn’t been sure what I was going to say, but those words just blurt out of me.
Eros goes silent.
“So, your confidence is finally coming back in little bursts, little Darv? First you dare insult me as an orphan…. I haven’t forgotten that one by the way, sweetest… and now you think you’re a tough warrior… maybe because I am your mate?” he asks past my ear, rather dryly.
“I walked down those steps, expecting to go for a swim in the Rough, to meet your infamous army of Erebos… what’s the hesitation? Aren’t we meant to get to know each other better, or something?”
“I don’t like the childish sound of your voice when you whine and complain,” he rasps, unhanding my waist, he shoves me forward and I fall to my hands and knees as the water slides in. Eros splashes past, laughing sharply, he leans down and his palm slides across the entire length of my spine as he trudges past me into the water, “Let’s go.”
“…rough shark…” I hiss under my breath as I get back to my feet and run after his long strides.
Eros is already disappearing, neck deep within a few strides, the water doesn’t hold him back at all. I’m only waist deep when he disappears under the waves and I pause.
“Here we go…” I murmur under my breath, right before he does exactly what I know he’ll do.
I can’t see dark shapes move in the water, but I feel the movement flush across my legs before his hands grab my knees and he pulls me under. The Rough encases me and Eros pulls me close. He holds me tight into his front as my tail shifts into place and he curves his tail in perfectly timed kicks with my own.
Chest to chest, in a strangely comforting way, Eros swims me close to him. I don’t understand why we have to be so intimate while swimming and all I can see is the concentrated look on his face as we shoot through the water.
I don’t know what the big deal is, until I feel as stupid as a starfish when wisps of sharp air bubbles whizz past us. Stone spears fly in from all directions around us but don’t hit any flesh. Coral Merka seeking revenge! Obviously, there would be retaliation for the murders of the Overseers of each clan. My heart thumps loud and hard against my chest and I know he can feel it, but Eros just tightens his arm around my waist as if to reassure me.
To be fair, Erebos were known for their fast swimming ability, because their tails were so long and strong. As we race through the water, I watch in fascination as the water above me starts to rise in magical waves, as if in tall walls of defence… they shoot up and come crashing back down. I look over my shoulder and see a Rough sea, bubbling and whirling, keeping the Coral Merka and Mermaids at bay.
It’s… kind of beautiful for an awesome display of power.
For now, we’re safe.
Eros doesn’t stop swimming until we’re deep out in the Rough. The water is cooler out here. Eventually he slows down and reaches up a hand to grab my chin. He pulls my head up and his ocean blue eyes pulse in the water with everlasting power; I don’t think it ever ran out for him. I lick my lips uncontrollably and stare into his gaze. It was easy to drown in those eyes.
Eros smiles wickedly and releases his arm around my waist, grabbing my hand in a tight grip, he floats back and swims down a bit… tugging me towards him in a rough jerk, in an attempt to scare me. I wince a little in fright and he lets it sink in that he’s about to take me down into a dark depth that I can’t see within – but I know he can.
Eros doesn’t let me protest, but he relishes as my eyes widen before he pulls me down. We were descending fast within seconds. As I curl my fingers tightly around his hand, I choose to focus on his darkest black scales, which quickly disappear the further we go down.
For a few moments, I can see absolutely nothing and can only feel his icy hot hand. I briefly wander if he’ll release me and watch me panic while I think I’m abandoned.
Thankfully, he doesn’t do that.
After a few more seconds, something magical happens.
I see his long black tail shimmer… and it starts to glow a brilliant iridescent turquoise. I reach out a hand, instantly wanting to touch it while he swims me down. I brush my fingers over his scales and I watch his tail erratically shiver in the water… ooo… he liked that.
I press my palm to his scales then, a bit too boldly… and I get a shock when I see the scales shift and something thick underneath starts to poke out.
Totally startled, I swim forward and see Eros smirking without looking back at me as he heads much further down into the Deep.
Eventually, with the help of his glowing long tail, I see rock, cut out like a maze. He pulls me through a crack and I swim close to him, close enough that he holds me into his chest again and turns his body, pulling me through some tight cracks with expert precision. Sharp rocks barely miss my head and my fragile Coral scales. I close my eyes as it gets too close for comfort.
That’s when we seem to swim down vertically, cutting through thick, heavy water. Our bodies then turn and lift up – I completely freak out when my head cuts above water and suddenly I’m breathing through my mouth.
I open my eyes, gasping as I slam my tail against Eros’s huge one, swimming back in a cave pool while breathing fast in confusion at the blue and black walls of a Deep water cave that I’m staring at in both horror and fascination. The black rocks glowed dimly blue with special bacteria, giving off small amounts of light.
It’s not a massive cave either, it’s a medium sized, confined space, with three or so other Erebos, tall and deadly, leaning over dead carcasses of Coral Merka, feasting into their necks… while other parts of their body are already torn, hanging off and dangling.
I swim back into a corner of the pool, my hands over my mouth as tears of cowardice instantly well up in my eyes.
I’m speechless as I hide behind a boulder, squeaking out when I see a skeleton dangling from some chains. I swim right back away from it and watch Eros blinking at me… enjoying every moment that I seem terrified.
“Stop playing with your food,” Eros snarls out while laughing, “I have a guest… and news.”
I watch heads poke up out of a rock pool above.
I witness five black haired women, some of the prettiest Darvs I’ve ever seen – excuse me, I meant female Erebos – glancing over the rock, looking startled.
All I could think, were that these were the true sirens of the sea.
“King Eros brought home a toy!” One of the girls huskily calls out, grinning, throwing her arms over the edge of the rock pool.
The three Merka Erebos who were ripping apart the Coral Mermaids, have turned, wiping their chins, looking pissed that their meal was interrupted.
“What toy? That little thing, how much blood does she have, half a quart?” the tall but stocky black haired Erebos is looking at me in disgust, his eyes glow a light blue, like a shell blue-white.
“Lily…” Eros coos to me and holds out a hand from the water, ushering me over.
I swim a little bit closer to him and as soon as he can, he grasps my elbow and jerks me into his side. I hide behind his shoulder and my eyes hover, simply watching the eight Erebos suspiciously.
They’re all the same age.
“This is the Ezili Clan,” Eros huskily introduces us, seemingly proud, I guess?
“Your army is eight… Erebos?” I whisper, into his ear… I admit… I’m condescending.
“Twenty in total,” Eros growls through his teeth, “Twelve are out hunting.”
“I thought Clans were hundreds strong, if not thousands?” I keep rubbing it in.
“The whole clan was poisoned on Belle Island, Lily, sweetest,” Eros snarls, “Twenty young were spared. Us. This is all that remained of the Clan.”
“Who is she?” Another stocky sized Erebos with stringy black hair and gold shimmering eyes, waltzes towards the water and squats by the edge, “A food… or just a toy… or both?”
“My mate,” Eros turns to me and grabs my arms, forcing me to be in front, his tail wraps around mine and he squishes me in a crushing hug from behind, his chin resting against my temple, “Lily is a half-wit Coral Mermaid, be kind to her, please,” Eros had a funny sense of humour. I think that sarcastically as the others chuckle or just glare at me.
“A Coral Mermaid?” The third male, with black eyes asks next, he seems to be a twin of the shell-white eyed Erebos. He licks his bloody fingers clean, “…that’s luck for you. You can drink her dry all night… every night… over and over.”
“What’s the second piece of news?” one of the female Erebos drawls, pressing her cheek to the rocks, she blinks purple entrancing eyes, as if terribly bored.
“The Ezili Clan Castle where we were raised? Still stands,” Eros growls this with passion, “I killed the Overseers of each Coral Clan, Jarv of the Pavati Clan, Korout of the Pelagic Clan, Darneek of the Firth Clan. Signet of the Crest Clan died… after leading my mate to our rightful home. This is our fate to regain the power we lost.”
His Clan of eight that were present, hold their breath.
I think they are all waiting for the punch line.
Eros says nothing and waits.
When no one speaks, I choose to take the opportunity to do so.
“I’m going to help you achieve balance back on the Belle Island,” I speak rather confidently in the moment, “I’m tied into this through the Water’s Will. Signet made it clear to me that I would be involved in your return to the Island. Where you belong. That is why I’m mated to… Eros.”
One of the females scoff, but only half-heartedly, “Is she serious? Are you serious, Eros, or is this another one of your make believe games of war… there is no castle, is there? She’s not your mate, you’re about to rip her head from her shoulders… I know that look in your eye, Eros… you blood thirsty leech.”
“Oh, no…” Eros whispers, swimming us closer to the edge of the pool, “It’s truth. The Ezili Castle still stands,” he grips my hair in his hand, “…and her blood… is sweetest…” he whispers this seductively over my neck as he pulls my neck to the side, “You’ll all taste her blood and therefore resign yourselves to her protectors – her life before your own. You will accept this Darv, this pretty half-wit… as your queen… and then we’re going back home,” Eros licks out a tongue across my neck and I’m about to yell out a short complaint, but I’m not sure exactly what he’s going to do.
Eros sinks his fangs into my neck and I let out a high pitched, embarrassing yelp of pain… before my neck relaxes, my arteries pump blood and he… he doesn’t suck.
Eros takes a lick and growls to himself, holding his urges at bay before he lifts me up around the waist and pushes the top half of my torso over the rocks.
“Taste,” Eros snarls at them, “Do not drink.”
I try to get up onto my hands, to lift myself… but my body is paralysed. There is no pain but there is no pleasure, either.
This was a different kind of bite.
I lie in a heap as the males come by first, leaning down, I whimper as they run their tongue along my bite, tasting for themselves.
I hear murmured grunts of approval, and as the three quickly take their turn… the females flop out of the rock pool, shift into beautiful bodies and then scurry forward next, curious to taste me.
I worry some of them will tear in just for fun… but I’m surprised as each of their lips, kiss my wound, rather than lick it. Each kiss has a strange pulse of reassurance and power behind their masks of beauty.
Each of these Merka and Mermaids were beings of great power, hidden behind addictive beauty and husky words.
My cheek is lying against the smooth rock for so long, I start to think Eros will just let me remain there… but he grabs my tail and hauls me back into the water.
I slam back against his chest and my vision tilts… he licks my wound, sealing it. Then he grabs my head before it flops to the side and he curses under his breath, pressing his hand to my forehead, holding me back into his neck.
“I forgot to feed you, my sweetest…” her rasps, almost in pain, “Lily… wait… I’ll gather some meat… or sea grass?”
Was he demented? Did he not understand what Coral Mermaids ate?
Not sea grass… there were so many more delicious meals from the sea.
I open my mouth but my eyes flick with black dots. It’s too late, as swirling oceans of throbbing red behind my closing eye lids, consume my vision and rush over my numb mind.
“…idiot…” I manage to whisper that before I pass out – and the last thing I hear is his growl of displeasure.
Probably both of us.