The Mermaid That's Sweetest

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8] A Bloody Shore

8] A Bloody Shore

I don’t have the bravery to enter the castle straight away, but I do find an old adjacent building which looked to be a large shed. When I enter it the shed itself looked like a place to grow a garden as there was no ceiling. But I do find an old rusty shovel lying in the ruined soil, overgrown with weeds. It’d do.

I spend the night making Signet a careful grave at the back of the Ezili Castle.

The place was indeed abandoned and it was the kind of place you didn’t enter until you had some sunlight. I didn’t want to traverse the inside with not even the help of a lantern.

I spend that night crying for Signet and sucking in tight breaths, trying not to cry loudly. Once she’s had her wish given, I mark her grave with a fallen black stone. I then walk timidly around the outside of the castle, gazing at the blackened stone walls. They were stones from the sea that built this Ezili Castle.

From the windows, I notice that the inside is full of dusty furniture. The place looked abandoned rather than raided. The only reason it would be so untouched was because it was considered cursed. Like Darvs.

I don’t sleep at all that night and I need to wash the one cloth that is helping me deal with my period. I head to the beach then, which involved walking to the left of the Ezili Castle and traversing down deep dark stairs… down a cliff… to a rather still little bay at the bottom. It was a mini beach, with dark water, enclosed by curved cliffs.

The main front of the Ezili Castle was around the bend, where the rough rocks were hit by violent waves.

At the bottom of this far more calm beach, I feel strangely at ease as I walk along the soft untouched sand at the bottom as the water laps quietly forward.

I look up at the steps I’ve walked down and it’s a long damn way.

I need to call Eros to me, so I simply take off my bloody cloth and put it into the edge of the water. I feel brave enough to get down on my knees and wash it, before hanging it over a rock to dry.

I know Eros may not make it through the patrols, so I decide to leave a message on the beach.

I find rocks and shells, spelling out the word; home.

I didn’t have enough to spell out a sentence, nor did I have the energy. Something cryptic sounded good enough. I knew it would urge him to ask more questions if he ever made it this far.

Once it’s finished, I hold up my clean cloth and wait for it to dry in the wind of the ocean.

Once it’s dried enough, I tie it back on, put on my brown shift and then head back up the stairs.

At the top, I look back down, hoping the word home is clear enough.

It’s clear.

But it’s also not alone.

I see an Erebos below and he’s lying on his back, on the beach, with his hands behind his head, his huge magnificent black tail flopped out in the ocean. I know that tail. I know that Merka.

He’s watching me, curiously.

It frightens me a little that the smell of my blood had him swimming here that fast.

I don’t wave at him, I just stare a little too long at his tail… three or four times longer than him… I gulp because everything about him was extremely attractive. It was true, as Iris had stated. Erebos beauty was like a poison and a delusion. You couldn’t look away.

Even his blue eyes glint perfectly with the sunrise as he watches me glare down at him.

He lazily flops out an arm to his side and curls his fingers.

Come back down.

He wanted me to go to him.

I just feel offended. I made it up here already. I wasn’t going to head back down all the way!

I watch as Eros sees my hesitation and he rolls his eyes upward, exasperated.

But then a wave crashes in and I see something else.

He’s showing me something.

I watch as the sand around him first starts to tint a different colour. I think the reddish hues of the sunset are playing a trick on me… until the sand seems to boil… up… more of it.

Around him, wave after wave… I see the shore tint red.

And then I look to see what’s wrong with the water and I almost throw up on the spot.

I had been so entranced looking at Eros lying on the beach, relaxing… I hadn’t noticed the upturned tails, the torn about bodies, floating in the shallows. Coral Merka. At least five of them, slaughtered and floating around in the ocean. I see the bright colours of hair, the bright tails… the pale body parts. I watch as one little wave brings in a rolling head.

Eros leans forward, picks it up like a ball in a game and tosses it out back to sea.

He flops back down, his hands behind his head again… his tail twitching, irate.

But he opens one eye, to see my reaction.

It took me long enough.

I jerk back a bit, ready to run… until I pause and notice the way Eros’ eyes widen… he expected me to run and he was waiting for my reaction.

He looks like an untamed wild animal, out on the hunt. Killing… but not for food. For fun.

I slip away from view, just as I see his tail shift into legs as he rolls to spring up.

I don’t see anything else.

I’ve turned toward the castle which is suddenly looking like a perfect place to run to.

Eros wouldn’t have slaughtered just for fun, would he? He would have done all that to punish me. He warned me not to cross his line. That’s he’d rip me to pieces. But hours later I had tempted him close again with my sweet blood again in the water. I had called to him too soon, foolishly.

I was paying for it.

Down below, he already murdered five of my kind.

I feel weak with exhaustion and anxiety as I run to the castle, collapsing on the front steps. I get my breath back and look out over the tough grass, the top of the steps I had ascended. I wonder if he’ll appear any moment.

I wait like an idiot in open view, while wondering if there was some way I could calm him down before he hunted me down.

I had not a clue of an idea.

Then suddenly, I watch as his arm slithers around one of the cliff rocks, his head peeking up over the side of the steps… his lazy gaze first catches mine, hinting a promise of pain.

Until I see his eyes promptly flicker up… taking in the castle. They widen in recognition of something… of the fact… the fact it still stood.

The Ezili Castle.

It was not razed to the ground.

I almost whine in a breath of pure panic as Eros slowly lowers his eyes to my form, cowering on the steps to a castle that belonged to his banished Clan. A Clan that once ruled all the others on the Island.

How stupid. I was so stupid.

He had more reason to hate me now.

His ocean blue eyes are alight with magic, passion and fresh fury.

I stand, I turn and I open the castle doors.

I force out any remnants of energy from every last cell of my exhausted body as I make myself move.

Then I remember the Overseer’s words.

Erebos mate to Erebos. They do not mate to our kind easily.

Signet had provided me with this knowledge.

Now I have a basic idea.

I had to become like an Erebos to face him, except I didn’t have fangs as thick and as strong as shark’s teeth.

So, I do what I can.

I look for a weapon.

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