Happy Friday readers! Before we get into the heart of things I just wanted to remind you that this week’s blog will be the short story flash fiction challenge. There were many submissions, but the story choice of, “Mermaids and Time Travel,” won. So since last Friday I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a story.
(Behold the creative process!)
The following is what I came up with! I actually had a lot of fun writing something that I wouldn’t have done on my own. I really enjoyed looking at what I could write in just a week and how far I’ve come as a writer so far. If you guys like this then I’ll probably do this again in the future. Enjoy!
Princess Kamare watched the human envoy enter the golden throne room with great anxiety. The tip of her fin at the end of her tail kept twitching in agitation, distracting her from the event. It had only been a year since the human world had discovered the great city of Wanax hidden in a massive cavern at the bottom of the ocean. The humans had been greatly surprised, but Kamare couldn’t help but wonder if her and the rest of Poseidon’s children weren’t more so.
The humans were wearing black suits with large bulbs on their heads and heavy looking packs on their backs. Kamare had been told it was how they could breathe. Many of them were also carrying a kind of black metal tube in their hands, but Kamare had no idea what there were for.
“It’s only been two hundred years since we last saw them,” Giorgio, Kamare’s bodyguard, whispered to her, “I can’t believe they’ve created such things in so little time.”
“What are they carrying?” Kamare asked quietly.
“No idea,” Giorgio shrugged, “I was told it’s some kind of tool. They don’t even have swords which is the strange thing,” he said adjusting the sword at his side.
Kamare leaned over to her mother, Queen Anassa, “What is their leader’s name again?”
Anassa looked a Kamare with the same tired looks she’d been giving her since Kamare had become an adult in age alone, “His name is Yuri. Be patient, we’ll negotiate the arrangement of a summit between our world and theirs, then you can ask them all your questions.”
Kamare was about to reply, when their court herald announced loudly, “Ambassador Yuri Demogorgon and his entourage from the human world to speak with Queen Anassa of the great city of Wanax, pride of our lord and creator Poseidon.”
At the front of the group a man stepped forward and bowed to Queen Anassa, then raised his arms and turned around slowly acknowledging the large cheering group of merfolk who had come to the palace to see the historic meeting.
“Thank you and greetings your majesty,” Yuri said through a speaker built into his suit, “It is a great pleasure to be welcomed into your kingdom.”
Kamare saw her mother nodded her head in greeting out of the corner of her eye. She couldn’t wait for the formalities to get out of the way. Her mother had outlawed traveling anywhere near the surface world two hundred years ago after a human fishing ship had greatly injured her father, who later died when she was very young. Kamare had always been interested in humans. All she knew of them where the stories the older merfolk told and the writings from the time of the gods.
“Wanax welcomes you,” Kamare’s mother was saying, drawing her attention back, “Long have we hid from humans, but your very presence here has shown us that there is much your world could teach us. There is also much we could teach you of the old ways your world has forgotten.”
There was a chorus of applause from the gathering of merfolk. Many of them like Kamare were too young to have ever seen a human before.
“It is these old ways that I wish to discuss first,” Yuri said, locking the queen’s gaze with his own, “Is it true that somewhere in this great underwater cavern that you have weapons of great magical power?”
Kamare saw her mother shift uncomfortably at this question, a frown forming on her face.
“Yes,” she finally said, her tail flicking out in agitation at how things were starting off, “We do possess many magical items left to us by the Olympians.”
“Excellent,” Yuri said with a smile. He then raised his hand and instantly the humans behind him brought up the black metal tubes they had with him and metal spears rained out.
Kamare was stunned and unable to move. She watched as the crowd erupted into screams of terror and swam for safety. Everything felt far away. Clouds of blood dirtied the water obscuring her vision of the humans, who were reloading as Yuri was pointing at her and shouting something she couldn’t understand. She looked over and saw four metal spears pinning her mother to the throne, her eyes empty. Kamare tried to move to her, but she was stuck. She looked at her shoulder and saw that a spear had gone through it and pinned her to the chair. As she watched blood was slowly oozing from around the spear and with it the pain started to blossom and the reality of what was happening hit her.
“Kamare!” Giorgio yelled into her ear, “Kamare! We have to go!”
Kamare nodded and Giorgio gripped the spear and yanked it out. Her body exploded in pain and her tail spasmed. He then took her arm and swam strongly out of the throne room, his sword in his other hand. As they went, Kamare saw spears from the human weapons fire at them through the clouded water, but without good vision they all missed.
“We need to get to the Vault,” Kamare said as Giorgio took them into a dining hall and shut and locked the door between them and the approaching humans.
“You’ll bleed out before we get there,” Giorgio said coming over to inspect her shoulder which was streaming blood.
“Maybe,” Kamare said, “But as long as there is rage to fill my veins I will get there.”
Giorgio nodded slowly, “What are you looking for in the vault?”
“Our secret weapon,” Kamare said, “There is a…” she started to say, but was halted when an explosion shook the palace. There was a pounding on the door as the humans tried to get in.
“Let’s move, we’ll have to take the long way to avoid as many humans as we can,” Giorgio said as they began swimming as fast as they could out of the other door of the hall and towards the vault.
The sounds of screams filled the halls as they swam. Merfolk were swimming in all directions, no one knowing where to go. In the thousands of years that the city has existed it has never been attacked. Its people had never known fear.
They rounded a corner and saw one of the serving maids lying on the floor staring blankly ahead. She looked at them and a dim recognition came to her face.
“There’s so many of them,” the woman said, her voice flat.
“What do you mean?” Kamare asked stopping her headlong rush.
“There were screams from the throne room. Then all these metal pods and humans came flooding in through the gates to the city.”
An explosion shook the palace again and the woman flinched slightly, “Where’s Poseidon? Why isn’t he here to save us?” the woman asked Kamare. She then laid down flat against the floor and began to sob into the marble tile.
“The gods died long ago,” Kamare said stroking the woman’s hair with her good arm, “But I will cast out the humans for them,” she then took off again down the hall, Giorgio right behind, her face twisted in rage.
A few minutes later they came around a corner to see that a group of humans and merfolk guards were battling at the entrance to the corridor that led to the vault. Clouds of blood were already starting to obscure them as more humans and merfolk came flooding into the hall. As Kamare watched some of the humans threw small oval shaped objects through the water towards a group of merfolk with swords and shields. The oval struck them and exploded, with twisted bodies, metal, and marble spraying outward.
“We need to get past them,” Kamare said to Giorgio.
“There’s no way through with you injured,” Giorgio replied pulling her back around the corner out of sight.
“I’m running out of time and so are they,” Kamare said as the pain started to ebb away with the blood from her shoulder.
Giorgio looked at her, his eyes held fear for the first time in his life, “Do you even have a plan? What is this weapon?”
Kamare smiled, “Poseidon secretly stole a piece of his father Cronus when he was freed by Zeus and hid it in a conch. Mother told me that if there is ever an emergency to blow the conch.”
“But what does it do?” Giorgio asked peaking around the corner to check on the fighting.
“No idea,” Kamare said, “But mother told me it was our greatest weapon and to keep it secret.”
Giorgio was silent for a moment then nodded, “For Wanax then!” Giorgio said raising his sword, “Let us save our people!”
“For Wanax,” Kamare said with a smile.
The two of them rushed around the corner, Giorgio in the lead his sword ready. A few humans turned when they saw them charge and fired at them. The first spear went wide and Giorgio batted the other aside with his sword. The men tried to reload, but before they could Giorgio was upon them and cut them down without slowing. Kamare swam through their blood, determined to follow closely behind.
Kamare saw as they reached the other side of the tumult that the corridor to the vault was open. Someone had beat them to it. They swam through and Kamare weakly pulled the door shut behind them to the sounds of other guards shouting, “Protect the princess!”
“Welcome!” Yuri said from the other end of the hall, standing before a giant circular door in the wall that led to the vault. The men with him instantly targeted them and Kamare knew that there was no way to the vault without being killed.
“Open the door,” Yuri continued smiling.
“Don’t,” Giorgio said keeping his sword ready.
“It’s fine,” Kamare whispered swimming forward slowly, “Promise to stop the killing and leave us in peace,” she yelled as she continued forward, Giorgio following close behind.
“Done,” Yuri said, then stepped to the side and gestured to the door.
Kamare swam up to the door and placed her hand on the handle which glowed blue at her touch and easily swung open. For a moment everyone was lost in thought looking into the vault. The room was filled with an array of pedestals, each with a different artifact on it. Helms, shields, swords, armor, and a host of other items that all once belonged to gods.
“The door only opens for the royal bloodline?” Yuri asked Kamare, not taking his eyes off the inside of the vault.
“Yes,” Kamare said slowly drifting forward into the vault.
Yuri nodded then stepped into the vault to the first pedestal, which had a golden fleece on it. He reached out and gently touched it. As Kamare watched she continued to drift into the vault, edging further and further from Yuri and the other humans who were mesmerized by the artifacts. She saw Giorgio look at her out of the side of his eye and arch his eyebrow to ask her now what. Kamare put her hand to her side and held out three fingers. Giorgio nodded and tightened his grip on his sword. Kamare counted down on her fingers and then everything happened at once.
As she finished counting, Kamare darted for the back of the vault, but her blood loss kept her from moving as quickly as she should. At the same time Giorgio struck out with his sword and killed two of the four humans with Yuri before they could react. Kamare looked back as she swam and saw that Giorgio’s sword had gotten stuck in the chest of one of the humans, and before he could dart away two spears were fired and struck into him. He shouted in rage and pulled the spear from his stomach out and used it to stab its owner through the throat before another spear hit him and he stopped moving.
Kamare cried out in anguish at seeing Giorgio killed, but pushed her tail to swim faster. She could hear Yuri yelling something to the other remaining human just as she reached the conch, which to her didn’t seem any different from any other shell she’d ever seen. She picked it up and as she put her lips to the shell she felt two spears thud into her back. She drifted around to face the humans, slowly sinking to the floor. As everything started to become dim, she used the last of her breath to blow into the conch which released a powerful wail.
The world shifted around her and Kamare’s vision swirled. She felt tossed in several directions at once like she was being pulled through a powerful whirlpool. After what felt like an eternity of drifting and being pulled around, Kamare felt still. She opened her eyes and saw that she was in the hall just outside of her bedchamber. Kamare looked down and felt around herself. All her wounds were gone, she felt fine.
“There you are!”
Kamare turned and saw Giorgio swimming towards her, unharmed.
“We better get a move on,” he said, ignoring the look of wonder on Kamare’s face, “The humans will arrive soon for the meeting and you can’t be late.”
“The humans aren’t here yet?” Kamare said, excitement and joy rising inside her.
“They will be shortly and we need to get going,” Giorgio said, giving her a reproachful look, “You haven’t been dipping into the wine early have you?”
“No!” Kamare said in excitement, “But we don’t have time. Swim as fast as you can and alert my mother and the captain of the guard that the humans mean to betray us and to meet me at the vault.”
Kamare then darted down the hall, swimming so quickly her tail ached. Giorgio called after her, but she was out of sight before she even registered that he was yelling for her to wait. She came to the vault quickly, this time being uninjured and not avoiding battle. The door again opened easily to her touch.
Inside Kamare put on Achilles armor, Hades’ helm, tied the conch to her side, strapped Apollo’s bow to her back, picked up Poseidon’s trident and Zeus’s shield and swam out of the vault. Her mother was there along with Giorgio and other important guards and merfolk.
“What are you doing?” Anassa asked, shocked to see her daughter with the god’s artifacts.
“The humans have come for war, war I will give them.”