may 8th. female perspective.
2nd part to the Journey of a Sailor.
The waters fill with the blood of my people, tainted with a hellish glow of red. We’re blinded by the filth and waste that has been dumped into the once pristine ocean that we call home. Swimming the streets I no longer see the signs of a happy existence, instead the citizens cower in their homes, waiting for the next attack. We set our lives to the sporadic invasions that plague us and lead to the destruction of our civilization.
Just outside the borders, the beast lurks, waiting for those who dare stray too far. We’ve been cut off from any hope of a savior and the fish no longer swim through the city. We have no source of food, save for what we have put aside. No doubt Hratho has seen to their destruction as well. I’d once heard the beast called by another name, one foreign to my ears. But as the great head of Hratho broke the water, the strange creature that resembled me in face and torso screamed, “Leviathan!” His whole crew shook with fear and I listened to their dying screams as the beast tore them apart. Hratho left no survivors but he was held at bay by the last of our protection fields. Their energy was collapsing and soon nothing would keep him from destroying us.
Once, Hratho had slept in the depths of our vast home, a sleep that had seemed endless and we’d hoped it would always be so. He’d awoken and with him came the end of our uneasy peace with the Crynu tribe of the northern waters. We didn’t know how, but they controlled the beast and he did their bidding.
“Jaiya, the king seeks your audience.” The waiting girl bobbed her head in a sign of respect.
I sighed and rose from where I had been seated, staring from the narrow window of my home. “Do you know the reason?”
“It isn’t my place to ask.”
She was right, but the fact made it inconvenient. Nodding in acceptance, I swam back through my door and along the narrow corridor that finally ended in the widening hall of the admittance chambers. With webbed fingers, I lightly pressed on the door, feeling the water work with me as I gave it a soft push. It opened, gliding with ease till it revealed the haggard face of my uncle.
“Shaksu Jaiya.” He murmured the title of respect for the keeper of the city.
I was in charge of the people’s well being and protection. I’d failed them. “My King.”
“One of the Crynu tribe has been captured. She is awaiting interrogation.”
I nodded and found my way to the chambers where prisoners were held. Before the war we’d had no reason for such unsavory stations. As I entered, I took a moment to study the captive. She was like all the others, a shark’s body for her lower half and the top much like me, except for the sharp, bared teeth and a nasal structure that rose sharply from the otherwise smooth planes of her face.
“I am Shaksu Jaiya, do you have a name?”
With a guttural growl, she lunged at me but stopped short as I constricted the water around her body.
“The water is no longer your ally. You should know enough of your enemies to realize what a Shaksu is capable of. Do not make me remind you.”
With an ugly sneer, the Crynu warrior fell still. Perhaps if I had more patience the entire procedure would have taken hours. As it was, I walked from the room only a half hour later, satisfied with the knowledge I had gained.
“We have enough food to hold out for a few more months, but the protection barrier will fail before that.” The voices of the men trailed off as I entered.
“I have a plan.” I smiled at their shock. “The Crynu are winning this war because of the Hratho but I know how they control it.”
They hesitated, the King looking on the verge of annoyance. “We don’t understand.”
“The Hratho is a creature driven by instinct alone, seeking out comfort’s such as a full stomach and warmth. Like all creatures, the Hratho has things to which it has an innate dislike for. The Crynu discovered that the rocks from the magma crater create such a strong reaction within the creature that it fleas in its presence.”
“The magma crater?” The King’s yell echoed through the room. “You know such a place is inaccessible to us. The heat alone sets a disease upon us, the likes of which spread with the current. And the sheer amount of land to be crossed is impossible, even with the temporary use of your Shaksu powers to give you legs.”
“Heat can be overcome and so can the distance. What we need,” I paused for effect, knowing the suspense might drive them to accept the idea, if desperation alone was not enough. “…is a human.”
“A human? You must have already succumbed to the heat of magma crater.” The King scoffed, shaking his head just as he had always done when I was a child, before my shaksu abilities had shown themselves.
“Patrol spotted a ship making its way over our territory, it barely entered in before the Hratho got it. I can go now and find someone to aid us.”
“They’ll sooner kill you Jaiya.”
I smiled bitterly. “Then I die to save my people.”
The days it took to win the man’s confidence angered me. I smiled, a pretty smile that I reserved for those who caught my fancy. Wasted on the likes of this stupid creature who couldn’t understand a word of my ancient language. I caught on to a few words of his own barbaric tongue and tried to explain the danger. The word pet was used, a strange word. I believed it meant a war tool, or controlled animal. Why else would that strange mad man refer to the Hratho as the Crynu’s pet?
He approached the end of our territory and it made me desperate. Why was he so stupid as to miss the danger? Once the Crynu attacked, I think he finally understood. It still took days more till I had convinced him and time was precious. I was wasting it here.
As the Hratho’s head rose from the water, I raised a hand, shooting out a jet of freezing water. It slammed into the beast’s eye and he let out a great roar, shaking his head and swinging it around as if confused. The man stood their, gazing open mouthed at the beast. With a hiss, I grabbed his arm and yanked him down into the water, wrapping his hand onto the water glider’s fin. A dolphin he called it.
Then we were under the water and dashing away from the battle, away from the sinking ship and dying men. I couldn’t save them but the guilt still weighed on me. A frantic beating on my arm caused me to turn and see the widened eyes of the man. Air, I’d forgotten. These human creatures needed air to survive. Narrowing my eyes, I willed the water back and it gave under the pressure, surrounding the man’s head in a sort of bubble. He gagged and gasped, fighting to breathe. I watched, unconcerned as he returned to a state of normalcy.
“You will help me.” I fumbled the words out in his language, projecting it through the water so he could understand.
“Help you?” He blinked at me uncomprehendingly.
I motioned back to the battle and bared my teeth, emitting a roar. “Hratho.”
“Leviathan.” I turned the word over in my mind. “Yes. Leviathan.”
I shook my head. “Yes.”
Turning towards him and stilling the motion of my tail, I grabbed his shirt and yanked him to me, till my nose hovered just outside the bubble I had created. “Yes. Easy.”
“Easy…” He sighed. “Right.”
“Right.” I smiled.
We continued swimming and he made no further conversation and that was fine with me. It tired me to speak in his rough language and he made no attempts to understand mine, a language of culture of history.
I felt the lingering heat in the waves before I saw the rocks that jutted up towards the surface. “Here.” I whispered the word and pulled the man creature close to me again. “Help here.” My limited understand of his language frustrated me.
“Here?” His eyebrow rose and he looked up at the island. “What do I do?”
Do… Yes, he needed to do something. Was it a question? Instructions, he needed instructions. I pulled the chain that was around my neck and showed him the rock that hung at the end. The rock that I had taken from the Crynu warrior. “I need.” I motioned to the rock again.
“A rock.” I nodded. “Many.”
“Many rocks.” He muttered the words in disbelief but nodded anyway.
Resting a hand on the water glider that had helped us, I uttered a few sharp clicks and the animal bobbed its head happily. Then I waited, as the glider carried the man to the surface. And waited. The time made me anxious and I held the magma crater rock in my hand, feeling its rough edges cut into my hands. At least I was protected if the Hratho came.
“The Shaksu of the Vendoa tribe. How perfect.”
I turned slowly, facing the Crynu warriors who smirked at me. The leader swam forward slowly, slitted eyes watching me intently.
“You should have kept to your dying city.”
“You should have stayed in your own waters.” I replied, raising a hand and tightening the water, stilling it so that they stopped moving, their tails caught in the unmoving element. “This water answers to me.”
“I guess we never learn.” The water liquified around them and in a flash a triton was hurtling through the water, striking my tail and sending me twenty feet back till I hit the underwater portion of the island.
With a whimper of pain, I pulled the three pronged spear from my tail. How had they reversed my control of the water? With a shaking hand, I held up the rock, but they just laughed.
“We’re not the Hratho, Jaiya of the Vendoa.”
“You know my name?” It was not a comforting though.
“We always know the person who stands between us and victory.” The leader’s words sent a charge of excitement through the other warriors and they rush towards me. With war cries tearing through the water, amplified by its natural state, they stabbed and swiped with their weapons. I deflected with solidified water shields, but they shattered quickly.
Behind them, in the murky deep, I saw the twining serpentine figure of the beast. It kept back, wary of the stone in my possession and around the necks of the other Crynu warriors. But it hungered, despite the scent of blood that told of his recent killings. It had an insatiable appetite.
A silver, streamline shape darted through the water, in front of me and I saw the man, still clinging desperately to the water glider. A sharp pang of fear shot through me and I hurriedly created a shield, just in time to deflect another attack. In the man’s arms were a large collection of stones and still more were tied to the water glider.
He spoke rapidly, pointing upward at a sharp piece of stone that hung precariously to the bottom of the island. Magma rock. I glanced down, seeing the beast hunting below us, swimming back and forth, agitated and angered by the resistance it felt from the island. Maybe the man wasn’t so stupid.
Raising a hand, I felt the hardened bolt of water shoot forward, piercing the side of the rock and cutting its last connection to the island. It dropped, driven by its weight.
The beast let out a mighty roar as the rock pierced its side. Perhaps a rock of any other kind would have been easy for Hratho to shake off. But the bane of its existence was trapped in its side and it had no hope of escaping. The beast sunk, thrashing and letting out cries of pain and anger, but still it continued, till it disappeared in the darkness.
I smiled in triumph but then screamed as a sharpened blade sliced my shoulder.
“The Crynu will not be defeated and treated as servants again, we will not submit to another of your forced treaties!” The leader let out another cry of anger, yanking the blade back and lunging forward again.
My eyes widened in shock as the man pushed off from the water glider to slide in front of me. The blade struck his stomach. With a savage growl, I beat my fin against the water and charged the Crynu leader. Water turned frigid around me, ice forming to sharp knives on my fingers as I attacked. The warriors let out a cry of panic, scattering as the temperature steadily dropped around them, until they froze and sunk just as the Hratho had done.
The adrenaline left my body and I wearily waved my tail back and forth to stay up. I glanced down, seeing the man lying on top of the water glider. It had saved him from sinking. I stilled my tail’s casual sway and allowed myself to sink to his level. Resting a hand on his wound, I felt the water stir around me, warming and melting the ice that clung to my skin. Water was full of energy and I was redirecting it.
The pulsating warmth flooded through my body, down my arm and to my hand. I let it flow from my palm to his bloodied wound. The sharks would be coming soon, smelling the blood. Slowly, the water calmed the blood and coated the injury, covering it for protection. The man groaned and his eyes fluttered open.
“Easy.” I smiled at him.
Looking at him, I decided he wasn’t so strange. Of course, his legs were still odd, but I had seen legs before. I could have legs, for the span of a few minutes anyway.
He sighed. “The rocks?”
I shook my head but smiled. The rocks didn’t matter anymore. The Hratho was gone and my people could rebuild. We’d dealt with the threat of the Crynu before and we could do it again.
I struggled to find the right words. “…home?”
“My home?” He asked.
“The ship is gone.” He said.
It seemed funny to me, that he had lived on that odd contraption. “No home?”
I smiled. “Again.”
He looked at my funnily and I bowed my head shyly. “Yeah, it could be home again.”