Fiction Friday: Depths of War - Part One

Depths of War


by
Kimberly Gail

Maran swirled through the murky depths of the sea, her spiked tail creating complex patterns of bubbles in her wake. The tiny changes in pressure tingled against her skin. The feeling was thrilling in more than just physical ways. A storm was moving up above. It was what the Gaharaee, the merfolk of the depths, had been waiting for. With the surface swimmers distracted by the chaos of the storm there was less chance of the Gaharaee’s warriors, the Sena, being noticed among them.

Maran turned her glowing eyes in the direction of a disturbance she felt in the water. A shimmering torpedo shot her way. Her sharp, white teeth glowed in the darkness as a knowing smile spread across her face. The torpedo stopped abruptly revealing itself as something far more dangerous, her fellow Sena, Proneetha. 

“Do you feel it Maran?” her sister in combat asked. “The silt is stirring. The storm above is raging.” Proneetha spread her tentacles behind her, the tips catching at tiny particles of mud, sand, and micro-bits of shattered shell.

“Yes,” Maran answered. She could feel the silt seeping into the pores of her bone-white skin. “And now is the time for our own storm to rage. Varun and his Surfies have kept us confined to the depths for too long.” She slid a webbed hand along the length of her arm, peeling away silt and algae. The effects of living a century in the depths had become too much to bear. The Gaharaee would no longer tolerate the banishment handed down by the vainglorious lord of the sea. Today was the day they rose up from the murk and returned to Kshithij, the world where the sky meets the sea.

***

Hugging her tail to her chest, Divvy stared into the growing waves. They slapped against the rocks where she perched, throwing spray up into her face. She wiped it away. A few drops of ocean spray should have been nothing to a mermaid, but she hated the feeling. The wind whipped her long, dark hair about her pretty face as the storm began to swell. With it came a melancholy such that Divvy had never felt before. She would soon be forced to plunge down into the ocean's depths, at least as far as the sea caves in the twilight zone. Kshithij was her home and even though it lay within the sunlight zone, it had always felt too deep, too wet. She often sought out places like this one, a small rocky islet darting up from the water. She longed for the warm blaze of the sun on her skin and scales.

Looking to the sky she saw dark clouds floating in from the east, blotting out the sun. She wondered if she dove in and began to swim as hard as she could if she might outswim the storm.

Her musings were disrupted by the sudden splash of two emerging forms. Twittering laughter rang in her ears as Teertha and Ashneer leapt from the water, spinning high in the air before splashing back down into the sea. The young twins were half-wild, having been orphaned long ago. Their brother, Varun, had inherited the responsibility of the two merchildren as well as those of the title of Lord of the Sea that day. Their ferality was evidence of in which responsibility he had chosen to place his priorities.

Divvy watched as Teertha swam to the edge of islet. Placing her arms on the nearest rock, the girl pulled herself half out of the water. "Varun has called for all Satah to head to the safety of the caves," she said in her sing-song voice.

"Then why are you not headed there," Divvy asked sternly. The girl tossed her blonde curls, shaking loose saltwater droplets that showered down upon the iridescent green scales of  Divvy's tail. With a heavy sigh the older mermaid swatted at the droplets sending them flying back at the girl. Teertha ignored the assault and merely continued fiddling with her hair, adjusting the small starfish she wore as decoration.

"We aren't there because Varun sent us to find you, obviously," quipped Ashneer, who had been floating back and forth with lazy flicks of his tail, hands locked behind his head looking to the stormy sky above.

"Surely the Lord of the Sea has greater concerns at the moment than my whereabouts."

Teertha stopped her preening. The child shook her head and gave an incredulous snort before rolling her eyes at Divvy; a silent message that somehow screamed just how much Varun was interested in her. A chill swept over her skin and scales that had nothing to do with the rising winds of the storm.



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