Fiction Friday: Human Curiosity

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Crystal Caves by JoshEiten on Deviantart

Welcome back! It’s Friday which means it’s storytime! {Yay!} This week’s story is a bit shorter that you’re used to, but I have a good reason for that, I promise. I’ve been working on a longer story {with lots of worldbuilding and plotting, oh my!} which I’m hoping to finish this week. I’m aiming for at least 5000 words, but it will probably be longer.

That said, I didn’t want to leave you guys without a story this week, so I wrote a short, dialogue only, story. It’s a continuation of Human Care, although you don’t necessarily need to read that one first. I saw this prompt on Pinterest and could immediately picture Kel’Jar and Keira having this conversation. As my husband said: That universe only exists to make Keira’s life difficult, doesn’t it? Why yes, yes it does. So enjoy and hopefully next week I’ll have something big for you!

 

“Why? Why didn’t I stay on the ship? I could have just said to the Captain ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a redshirt!’ But, no! He asked so of course I – “

“Your shirt seems to be more of an Earth-forest green in hue, and the Captain’s name is Crydrask, not Jim.”

“I know, Kel’Jar, it’s a human saying – sort of. Point is, I should be back on the ship, surrounded by my beautiful machines and gizmos but instead I’m on this cold, dark planet, walking into this cold, dark, fakakta cave where we’ll get eaten by the no doubt charming wildlife. All because they found some energy signature in said, cold, dark, fakakta cave that might maybe, perhaps, possibly be electronic. How is this my life?”

“Human-Keira, I would like to join you in acknowledging the difficulties of your life.”

“Wow, you are the worst at this comfort thing. But thanks for trying, I guess.”

“XTO-371 was labelled ‘safe’ before we were sent down. There are no signs of dangerous indigenous species, airborne toxins or other biological hazards. You are simply experiencing a nervous reaction due to the fact that this is your first exploring mission. You will be, as you say, fine.”

“Much better. See, you’re getting the hang of this human-interaction thing! Now, does your scanner say how much further we need to go before we reach this energy – Oh God! Something just brushed my leg!”

“That was most probably an Agnasi, they are similar to your Earth-spider.”

“Spiders don’t usually reach up to my knee, Kel’Jar!”

“True, I meant in the way that they have more limbs than most species. Ten in the case of the Agnasi, but –“

“Not really helping.”

“—they have a really friendly demeanour.”

“Oh God, the creepy alien spiders are going to eat us alive and we’re all gonna diiiieeeee. We should never have walked in here. I wanna go hoooome.”

“Why are you singing?”

“It’s a human fear response. It happens sometimes.”

“Studies on human behaviour denote three human responses to fear: fight, flight and freeze. Singing is not mentioned.”

“Well, no. It’s more like we’re trying not to give in to the fight-or-flight thing by singing. I guess.”

“Fascinating.”

“Yeah, we’re astonishing creatures. Oh, hey! I found the thingamabob. Could you give me some more light? Thanks. Cool, it seems to be giving off sound on a supersonic frequency. I wonder why?”

“Perhaps it is a distress signal.”

“Could be, but we haven’t found any other technology, or a spaceship. Ooh, I found the button that turns it off, let’s see what happens.”

“Are you certain that is wise?”

“Too late. Alright, nothing flashy happened, nothing exploded, no sudden death. Which is good. Blinking lights, which might be less good. Wait. Do you hear that, what is that?”

“It would appear we have angered the Agnasi by turning off the device. I would advise you to run!”

“I thought you said they have a ‘friendly demeanour’!”

“I was incorrect. Caelestis, this is Lieutenant Kel’Jar requesting immediate extraction from this location. We are being pursued, I repeat, we are being pursued.”

“Nothing will happen, he says, you’ll be fine, he says!”

“It was a statement made taking only the parameters currently available to me in consideration.”

“Hahaha! Did you see that one hit the rocks? I totally got it!”

“Is laughing another human not-fear response?”

“Yeah, but how about we run now and study human physiology later, okay?”

“They seem to be gaining on us.”

“I swear, Kel’Jar, if I get eaten I will haunt you for– Oof!”

“Welcome back aboard, Lieutenant, Keira. Were you able to figure out the energy signature?”

“It would seem, Captain, that the device emitted a high-frequency sound, which kept the local Agnasi population docile. When Human-Keira shut down the device, they turned hostile.”

“I see.”

“Yeah – I guess I’m not really cut out for the adventuring thing. Sorry, Captain, guess I shouldn’t have pushed the glowy button.”

“Human curiosity. Something we could use on our next mission. So, get some rest and wash up. We’ll arrive at EXO-31 in 23 standard hours.”

“When you say human curiosity?”

“Yes, Keira, that means you too.”

“But we almost got eaten by not-spiders and it was my fault!”

“And you survived, this time.”

Oy Gevalt.

“Who knows, you might start to like this adventuring thing.”

Mixed Media: Flowers and Secrets

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So in last weeks post I promised you guys that I’d show you something else you can do with your colouring pages. Well, here she is! A mixed media painting using you colouring page as a beautiful centre.

This picture is again from Jasmine Becket-Griffith‘s amazing Fantasy Art Coloring book. Her name is Flora! First I coloured her with Spectrum Noir markers, specifically the Pastel set. I added a bit of sparkle to her belt with the Spectrum Noir Sparkle set – Metallics.

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Next I took some really tiny scissors and cut out the figure from the colouring page. Then I grabbed a canvas, painted on some colours that I liked with my page and had some fun with stencils! Next step: Mod Podge. I glued my cut out colouring page onto the canvas and waited for it to dry. Already looking good!

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Last but not least I painted the borders with black acrylics, contoured my colouring page with black Posca marker and added the handlettered text. It was still missing something, so I took my white Posca marker and added the scribbles and the border. And there you go! A pretty mixed media painting using colouring pages!

I’m totally hooked now, and already working on the next one. These are just so much fun to make! So tell me, what fun ways of using colouring pages have you found?

Fiction Friday: Salvation

 

Pieterskerk
Pieterskerk in Leiden, the Netherlands

 Hi and welcome to another Fiction Friday! Phew I had a hard time writing this one. I’d been without inspiration the entire week and when I finally knew what I wanted to write about, the words ran away from me at Mach 5 speed. Seriously, it took me almost five hours to get these little-over-1000 words on paper. I bow in shame and defeat. But, I’m also proud of myself because I eventually did do it {yay for discipline!} and after some serious tweaking {so much tweaking} it’s something I’m actually proud of.

So I really had no idea what to write this week, so I took a page out of my friend Chantal‘s book {who took it out of Chuck Wendig’s book, but shh} and went to Flickr to browse through the recently added photos. I found one of a beautiful church in Barcelona, which reminded me that I had a character somewhere for my big worldbuiding project who has a close bond with churches and could use a little backstory. I looked up a church a little closer to home, and wrote the story of my vampire priest! So are you ready? Here we go!

 

Joseph paused in front of the huge Gothic church. The high arched windows cast a warm glow onto the cobblestone streets. Heavy red doors stood open and inviting. He should just walk in. Finally find the courage to walk into the warm interior and let the wrath of God burn him to cinders. At least, that’s what they said happened to monsters who tried to enter His house. And that’s what he was now, wasn’t he?
A monster.
He was so tired. Tired of roaming, standing in front of another church and trying to convince himself to just end it. Tired of the heartache of leaving his wife and family behind, even though he knew he was protecting them. He could never go home. Not like this.
When he returned from the War to End All Wars, changed, he knew that he would be a danger to his own family. He hadn’t even said goodbye, it was better if they thought he died on that cursed battlefield. In a way he had, bleeding out in the muddied trenches after that thing had torn out his throat and fed him the life from its veins. Only he hadn’t stayed dead.
He’d stowed away on the first boat to the Americas, hoping an ocean between them would keep them safe from the monster he’d become. For weeks he had wandered the land, shying away from the sun when it started to burn. Praying for salvation to a God he knew would no longer hear him.
Every morning when dawn broke, he stood in the shadows, watching God’s light fill the streets but knowing he would never feel its warmth again. He wondered if the stories were true, that if he stepped out of the shadows he would burn away, his ashes travelling up to Heaven as his soul would descend to Hell. At night he would walk through towns and cities, always finding himself in front of a church, remembering the Sundays spent with his family in the wooden benches, heads bowed in prayer. And every night wondering if this was the night where he would finally step inside. Through it all the hunger pulsed within him, a beat that was impossible to ignore.
“Hello,” a voice sounded beside him. He turned to see a man in priest robes standing next to him. “You’ve been standing here a while now, would you like to come in?”
“I don’t think that would be such a good idea, Father.”
“You’re from Britain?” the priest asked, “You’ve fought in the war?”
He could only nod in answer. The priest gestured to a small bench facing the cathedral and they both sat in silence for a moment.
“We have a lot of folk here who fought for their country,” the priest began. “Folk who had some trouble getting back on their feet after. War changes people, yes, but -”
“War made me a monster,” Joseph interrupted.
The priest waited for a moment, but the man said nothing more. “What’s your name, son?”
“Joseph Brennan, Father.” The hunger clawed at him now. This was the first time in weeks that somebody had been this close to him. He could almost smell it, the coppery warmth that could be his if only he tore open the priest. Like he had been torn open. He felt his new fangs lengthen at the thought alone. He knew his eyes must be burning red now, like his maker’s had been.
“Joseph,” the priest started, completely unaware of the struggle happening next to him, “there are things war forces men to do that might make it seem like God has abandoned them. But He’s still here, and He’s still listening. What you have gone through hasn’t made you a monster, it-”
“Hasn’t it?” Joseph demanded, baring his fangs at the man sitting next to him. “All I can think about now is how your blood would taste on my tongue. The thrill it would give to see the life leave your eyes as I drain you dry. Tell me, Father, how am I not a monster?”
The priest regarded him for a moment, seemingly unfazed. “I see. Why did you come here, Joseph? What is it that you’re looking for?”
“Peace,” he answered, a burning tear rolling down his cheek, “for this pain to finally end.”
The priest lay a hand on his arm, squeezing gently. “God has heard your prayers and send you here. You are not the first Night’s Child we have had here. Tell me, Joseph, have you given in to the hunger? Have you drunk blood?” The priest stood and started towards the doors, guiding Joseph along.
“Not yet, but I don’t know how much longer I can fight it,” he admitted.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well,” the priest quoted, “Your soul is not yet darkened, my son, you must fight temptation each and every day. You will have to become an instrument of God. It will not be easy, but God knows you have the strength, for He has sent you to us.”
They stood in front of the heavy wooden doors now, the interior of the church lit by warm candlelight. White pillars lined the path towards the ornate choir screen at the back of the church. A spiral staircase wrapped around one of the pillars on the right, leading to a wooden pulpit that looked antique. A huge bronze chandelier hung from the ceiling, the candles upon it casting golden light upon the wooden pews. “We will all help you, Joseph. But above all, you must wish to be saved. It is not too late to save your soul, and perhaps along the way, save the souls of others,” The priest gestured inside. “Will you come in?”
Joseph stood for a moment, frozen in indecision. He regarded the man next to him, who wasn’t afraid of what he had become, of what he could be. Who instead told him that there was hope, that there was a way to save himself. He had to put his trust in this man, and in God, but could he do that, when he couldn’t even trust himself?
Closing his eyes he called up images of his wife, singing while she cooked, of his brothers laughing in the pub, of his mother hanging up the laundry. He owed it to them to try. He squared his shoulders and opened his eyes, looking inside this beautiful house of God, and with apprehension, but without fear, he stepped over the threshold.

So that’s it for this week! Next week will be a bit lighter again, I promise. After this one the writing came a bit more naturally as well, which is good! As a final gift: look at this beautiful choir screen in the same Pieterskerk (Peterschurch)!

Choir screen in the Pieterskerk, the Netherlands

Hippy Trippy Fairy

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As you guys might know, I’m a huge fan of anything fairy and, most of all, colourful {I mean, we had a rainbow themed wedding… enough said, right?} So when we got Jasmine Becket-Griffith‘s amazing Fantasy Art Coloring book the first picture I fell in love with was this one. A hippy trippy fairy that I could make as rainbow-y as I wanted! {For the shop of course. To display. Totally! Ahem.}

I’ve been in love with Jasmine’s art for years and it has been amazing to follow her growth and search for style through the years. She has gone from 2D, almost monotone fairies to amazingly detailled oil paintings in too many colours to count. It’s amazing to see {google strangeling and look at the images, you’ll know what I mean.}

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I used a combination of Panduro colouring pencils, because they had better skin tones and pinks, and the amazing Faber-Castell Polychromos, which I totally fell in love with. It was my first time colouring with these {since I don’t actually own them, but we had a set open at work for testing} and I must say, I’m sold. They’re creamy, smooth and so intense. To illustrate: in the picture above the skin and hair are done with Panduro, the rainbow wings are Polychromos. Look at that difference in intensity!

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I’ll end with a little detail closeup of the ‘branches’ she is sitting in. Those were coloured with Spectrum Noir Sparkle – Metallics, specifically the black one. Look at that shimmer! The black is by far the most beautiful in that set. To be honest, the gold and silver are a bit too dark for me, almost burnished. Although I’m working on a steampunk page now that they are perfect for!

So, that’s it for the first of what are sure to be many colouring pages I will share with you. Stay tuned, the next one I made to show what else fun things you can do with your colouring pages!

Fiction Friday: the Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring
Compass by Coyhand on Flickr

It’s Friday and you know what this means: time for another story! I’ve been diving into Dark Fantasy for the last couple of weeks, as you might have noticed in Siren Song… But, I have good reason, I swear, I’m entering another writing competition! {Gasp! So excited!} The where and what I want to keep to myself a little while longer, but I can share this with you guys: this is the story that didn’t make the cut.

Like last time I entered a story competition, I wrote two stories {Noor and Death’s Diner, which won!} to see what would work best. This time I did the same. I really like this one but it didn’t quite get the feel I wanted… So, I get to share this one with you guys! {yay!} Enjoy and let me know what you think!

“Malia?” Tami called as she ran through the rain-slick streets of Haven, “Come on, sweetie, this isn’t funny anymore.” If Mother found out she had lost her little sister she was done for. “Malia!” She called again, rounding another corner. She passed a few people but they paid her no heed; in Haven people only cared about their own troubles.
Rain was still pouring down, turning the drab grey stones of the streets and homes even darker. A spot of colour caught her eye on the end of a dark alleyway. Heart in her throat, she walked towards it. There, between the filth, resting against the Wall that kept the city safe, lay Ophelia, her sister’s doll. Gently, Tami picked her up and cradled the doll in her hands. Mother had made that doll, stealing scraps of fancy fabric whenever she made dresses for the rich women in the White District. She ran her thumb over the intricate embroidery on the doll’s wings. Something must have happened. Malia would never go anywhere without Ophelia.
Terror caught her by the throat and Tami clutched the small rag doll to her chest. “Malia!” she called out frantically, “please just come out, I promise I’m not mad. Malia, please!”
“I’m right here, silly,” a voice sounded right behind her, making her jump. When she turned Malia was standing there, soaking wet and covered in mud. A big smile on her round face.
Tami picked her up and held her tight. “Oh, sweetie, thank Abeona, you’re okay. I’ve been looking all over, you had me so worried!” She set her little sister down and looked her over. Other than a few small scrapes she seemed to be fine. “Are you hurt?” she couldn’t help but ask, “did anyone hurt you?”
Malia shook her head no. “I’m fine,” the small girl answered, still smiling.
“Where have you been? You’ve been gone for five hours.”
“I was in the forest,” she said like it was nothing, pointing towards the thick Wall.
Tami’s heart pounded in her chest. There was a reason Haven was surrounded by walls of stone. The world outside the Wall was no longer safe for anyone to travel, especially not a child. “The forest, but how?” she grabbed Malia by the shoulders, “You mustn’t go there, the forest is dangerous.”
“No it’s not,” the younger stated with absolute certainty, “it’s pretty and I made new friends. They want to meet you, Tami, you have to come!” She pulled away from her sister and ran towards one of the nearby buildings. “Come on!”
“What friends?”
“The pixies. I found them, real pixies,” Malia bounced on her feet, her voice filled with excitement, “they’re sparkly and bright and can do real magic. You have to come and see, Tami, please, please, please.”
Before Tami could answer, her sister wedged herself between the building and the Wall and disappeared from sight. Tami hurried after her, it was a tight fit, but she managed to get to where her sister had found a hole in the wall. She’d actually been outside, Tami realised, believing before that her sister was spinning tales out of boredom. Malia had been to the forest and back again, safe. They had heard so many tales of the outside that everyone believed life within the Wall was the only way to survive. Could it be that the forest was not as dangerous as they thought? If what Malia was saying is true, they could finally leave this rat-infested city and test their luck elsewhere.
A head appeared through the whole in the wall. “Come on, I promise the woods are not scary,” her sister beckoned.
Tami stayed where she was for a moment, undecided, until an annoyed sounding “Tami,” floated through the hole. She took a fortifying breath and ducked through the hole towards the outside world.

The forest was beautiful, Tami had to admit as they walked through the darkening woods. There were colourful flowers and vines everywhere and a little while back she’d even seen a deer. She’d never known how much cleaner the world could smell. The sweet scent of flowers and the fresh scent of wet leaves filled her nose. Walking here amongst all this life she couldn’t imagine ever going back to the gloomy and drab city. She laughed as her sister skipped ahead, humming along a happy tune with the birds’ songs. This, she thought, this is what freedom feels like.
As they walked deeper into the forest, their surroundings seemed to be getting darker. No, she thought, everything was darker. Even the sky, but that couldn’t be right, could it? When they left it hadn’t even been close to supper. A sudden night had fallen over the woods and leached them of their vibrancy. All around was black and green, the bright colours from before engulfed in darkness.
Tami looked behind her, only to see the path obscured by a low-hanging mist. Fear started creeping up her spine. She had no idea where she was, no idea how to get home from here. Malia was still skipping ahead, her humming now eerie in the sudden silence. “Malia, sweetie,” she tried, “it’s getting dark, we have to turn back.”
“Don’t be silly,” her sister called back, skipping backwards for a moment, “we’re almost there. Besides, the pixies make their own light.” She smiled brightly for a moment before turning back towards the path and continuing on, still humming.
The air was getting colder, the mist now up to Tami’s knees. There were lights in the trees, mushrooms glowing an uncanny green. She’d never seen anything like it and wanted to be amazed, she truly did, but all the lights did was cast ghastly shadows upon the trees. The hairs on her neck stood straight up. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched, the lights on the trees creating faces of shadow, following her every move. Tami itched to grab Malia and run far from this dark and desolate place, but where would she go? There was no more path to follow. She had no choice but to trail her young sister, who didn’t seem fazed by her darkened surroundings and seemed to know exactly where she was going.
There was a light further ahead. Pale blue and shining brighter than the mushrooms that dotted the trees. Perhaps a lantern, Tami hoped, belonging to a traveller that could show them the way out of this cursed forest.
Malia giggled and started running towards it, “It’s them, come on!”
“Malia wait!” Tami called but it was no use. She hurried after the child finding herself suddenly at the edge of a clearing between the trees. The lights were pixies, she saw, actual, real pixies dancing and giggling above a ring of toadstools.
They were beautiful.
Their gossamer wings shone a light blue in the dark sky, tufts of dust trailing behind them. Dresses made of flower petals twirled round and round as they danced to a song only they could hear. Wide eyes and rosy cheeks greeted her as one of the pixies beckoned her forward. Malia was already dancing with them, Tami noticed, spinning within the fairy ring. Tami couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of such wonder. They had found light and hope within these cimmerian woods.
“Dance with me, sister!” Malia called from out of the ring.
Tami took her hand and gently stepped over the circle of toadstools. Music started, slowly at first, the soft tunes of harp and fiddle filling the circle. As soon as the sisters started moving it picked up speed, going faster and faster as they spun about the ring. The pixies flashed by Tami, still giggling. For a moment they seemed spindly and rotten, their wings tattered and torn, their black eyes piercing through her, but when she blinked it was gone.
She was getting dizzy. A feeling of dread crept up her spine as the pixies came ever closer, flashing from rosy to rotten and back again.
“I told you I would get her here,” her sister called out, bringing their spinning to a sudden stop.
Tami stumbled for a moment before regaining her balance. The pixies, if they even were pixies, were surrounding her now there was nowhere she could go. Their black eyes studied her, seemingly amused at her unease. “Malia, we need to go,” she told her sister calmly, not wanting to cause her any fright, “now.”
“Yes, I can get more people for you,” the younger answered an unspoken question and cold settled within Tami’s heart, “Mother will be ever so worried when Tami doesn’t come back.”
Tami’s breathing picked up as her sister turned towards her. Where her eyes were normally a soft brown they were now full black, like the eyes of the creatures around them. Malia smiled brightly, looking a little unhinged. Tami took a step towards her, intending to grab Malia and run, not caring where they ended up, but tiny hands latched on to her, piercing her skin. Panicked, she tried to swat at them but there were too many. One opened its mouth and Tami screamed at the sight of the rows of fangs.
“Malia, please,” she pleaded as it bit down on her shoulder, a cold sensation filling her body. The ground under her feet swayed as her vision swam.
“They only want to play,” Malia told her, her voice reassuring.
“No,” Tami could only whisper as more pixies latched onto her skin.
“Don’t worry, sister,” her sister told her, smile too wide and eyes still pitch black, “they won’t bite.”

So that’s it for this week! I’m so excited {and terrified} for this competition, really guys and gals, this could be life-changing… So, I’ll keep you posted and tune in next week for a new fiction friday!

Mixed Media: Rust

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The absolute best thing of working in a craftshop is hearing: “We’ve got a new product, will you make something with it so people can see what it does?” I get to craft and get paid for it, which is of course the dream! This time we got a new Rust Effect spray by Edding and it worked like a charm.

First I took one of the wooden book-boxes we have in our collection and started sticking things on it I thought would look nice together. Don’t bother looking at the colours, go for texture! I added a layer of what we call ‘spiderweb paper’ {the closest thing I could find in English is fiber paper, but spiderweb is even more open} and a lace ribbon. After that I started adding flowers, buttons, crocheted flowers and rhinestones until I got the composition that I wanted.

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Then it was spraying time! I must say, I was amazed by how easy this was to work with. It covered everything in one easy coat and within a few minutes it was touch dry. It took longer for the glue to dry than the paint… Covering was good and it gives the entire piece a little bit of texture and shine, just like something completely rusted over. Love, love, love the effect!

The only thing left to do was drybrush a bit of bright turquoise acrylic paint to strengthen the aging/rust effect and tadaa: easy peasy awesome rust book-box. I totally fell in love with this product and can’t wait to use it for other stuff…. Like D&D or Warhammer terrain… {which I will of course show you guys when I’ve made them!}

Fiction Friday: Siren’s Song

submerge_by_charlie_bowater-d8063sy

Friday night: story time! I’m having some trouble thinking up concepts and characters on my own at the moment, but, luckily we have the internet! This time it’s from another beautiful prompt from Tumblr {yes again!} The premise was cool and it had mermaids in them, so I couldn’t resist. It’s a bit darker than you might be used to, but I’m trying new things! Hope you enjoy and tell me what you think!

“Commodore, please, you don’t have to do this!” I begged the stoic man standing on deck, his hands clasped tightly behind his back.
“I’m sorry, miss Courtenay, I’m afraid I must.” His voice sounded truly apologetic, and I might have felt sorry for him and the misfortune that had befallen him and his crew, if not for the fact that he was going to kill me.
“It’s an old wives’ tale,” I tried to argue, “tossing me off your ship won’t actually bring you luck. You’re a man raised in civility, surely you must know this?” I was getting desperate now, standing on the rickety plank, arms bound behind my back and legs tied together. A heavy stone resting next to me.
Commodore Harrison was already shaking his head. “If we wish to reach Fort Orange without more dead we must make this sacrifice to Her, to the sea. I truly wish there was another way, Lucia, I truly am sorry.” He looked at me for a moment, eyes cold and unyielding. “Do it.” He ordered.
I screamed as the plank underneath my feet was suddenly pulled away. Pain slashed through me as my head cracked against the wood. I managed to gasp in a breath just before I was dragged under the waves.
It was so cold.
I tried frantically to free my arms or her legs, anything so I could swim back to the surface and breathe. It was no use, the knots were too tight. I stopped thrashing for a moment to look around me, to try and find anything I could use to get myself free. Blood curled lazily up through the water, both from the wound on my head and from my wrists chafing against the coarse rope. Were there sharks in these parts? I wondered absent-mindedly, would I live long enough for it to matter?
The stone dragged me deeper and deeper, the surface above now impossibly far away. I am going to die here, I realized, sudden and unbidden, this was where I would meet my end. The frantic struggling became less as my strength died away. Where first there was the peaceful silence of the sea there was now a rushing in my ears. Like the roaring of the waves. The burning in my lungs overshadowed the pain from my head as I tried with all I had to keep this thread of air within my body. Not ready to give up yet. Not yet.
The ship was now moving away. They had made their sacrifice and thought themselves safe. Fools. I wished so badly that I could reach up, clench my hand around the hull and crush it. That I could drag those who have killed me down with me to their own watery graves.
Goddess grant me my dying wish, I prayed, let those bastards die as I will, with Your blood filling their lungs and Your vast darkness surrounding them.

Movement then, something coming towards me at impossible speed. The fading light catching the glimmer of scales and pale hair. But they are a myth, I thought as three mermaids surrounded me. One had a tail the colour of peridot, her eyes sparkling with mirth. A flash of pale purple filled her vision as the second mermaid circled her slowly. The third had scales of burnished gold, shining even in the dark.
Sister, I heard the last mermaid speak, her voice within my own head, She has heard your prayers. We’ve come to your aid. Yet they weren’t moving to free me.
Why weren’t they helping me? Couldn’t they see I was dying?
We are helping, sweet sister. But She needs you to die first. The mermaid reached out a webbed hand and gently caressed my bleeding face. Let go. Let go of who you were before and become who She wills you to be.
Maybe the mermaids were a vision, sent by the Goddess. If I were to give up, if I were to die here, now, would the Goddess grant me my dying wish?
And so much more. The mermaid confirmed.
Let go. Three voices echoing in my head now.
So I let go. I ceased my weak struggling and released my final breath, watching as the bubbles rose towards the surface.
Another moved forward, her scales and hair a pale lavender. Webbed hands reached out and cupped my face, pulling me in.
The mermaid is kissing me, I thought, no, not kissing, breathing. Air filled my aching lungs once again, but oh, how this burned. A tendril of glittering magic left me on the exhale, and the mermaid breathed for me again, twice, three times before the pain struck, sudden and blinding. Bones crunched and shifted, scales poured out what was once skin. I screamed, the tortured sound changing in the water, becoming a melody, a Song.
For a single moment, my heart stopped.
It started anew, the rhythm and cadence different, tranquil like the sea. I was reborn. My legs were no longer bound together, but then, they were no longer legs, were they? My tail easily slipped out of the ropes. I admired it for a moment, the blue-black scales almost invisible in the darkness. I looked upon the three mermaids again, my sisters now. I could feel them on the edge of my mind, and there were more, I knew, further away. Waiting for their newest sister. I opened my mouth to speak but only the Song came out.
Like this, the one with the lavender scales said, her voice a caress in my mind. She felt amused and excited.
Hello, I tried.
They smiled at me. Hello, the three voices echoed.
Such rage still within her, the one with green scales said, I like her.
She is beautiful, whispered the second as she twirled a lock of my blue-black hair between her fingers.
Yes, agreed the third, her golden hair like fire beneath the waves, vengeance and rage and beauty. We shall call you Tempest.
Tempest, I tried. Yes, I liked that name very much.
The ship of my murderers was getting smaller in the distance and I longed to go after it, to drag it down to the sea floor.
Don’t worry, little sister, their voices, Coralia, Briny and Halcyon I knew now, echoed, we will easily catch the ship.
Dark glee filled me as we started the hunt. The thrill of it ran through us all as more sisters joined our chase. It would be easy now, I thought, now that I had found my Voice and my family. Together we would lure my murderers to us, break their bones on the rocks and drag them down into the deep. We would hold them to us until the life left their eyes and they breathed their last breath. We would raise our Voices together, a single note that had but one meaning: revenge.

So that’s it for this week’s tale! Join me next week for another adventure!