Ariel and the Queens trident


	The waves crashed on the rocks below, spring was
 well advanced but the snow on the mountains kept a chill
in the breeze. On the balcony of stone a lone figure
looking out to sea , her mouth was a thin line of anguish.
 She pulled the long thick cloak closer around her body, 
as her deep red hair billowed in the chilly night air.
	She thought of the previous years, six, they had 
past so fast, it had all become a blur of half 
remembered places and even more elusive faces. 
And as she stood she  contemplated about the next
 six. It had seemed so simple in the beginning , love 
had conquered all, but can you live on love alone? It 
was a question she asked herself when she felt the 
longing once more.
	 From the gardens came yapping, as Eric 
continued in his training of his dog, she looked down 
and saw Eric throw the stick and then look up at her, 
he smiled and waved. 
	She looked again at the sea,  sighed  and then 
smiled. She had made her choice long ago, and did 
not regret it. But once in a while when the sea broke 
its power on the shore, the sound of the waves made 
her think of home. And with those thoughts came the 
heart ache of sacrifice and the thought of what might 
have been.
	 Ariel turned and opened the double doors that 
lead to their bedroom , and stepped into the warmth. 
She removed the cloak and laid it on the bed, and 
then sat down in front of her desk. looking at her 
reflection in the mirror, she saw herself and she 
wondered who she was, princess of the ocean, or 
princess of a small kingdom on the coast.
	"If I knew that it would solve a lot of problems", 
she said to herself. Reaching over she picked up a 
brush and smiled as she ran  a finger over the fork 
that was set into the holder. It had been Erics gift on 
their fist Christmas together and it took pride of place 
next to the amulet that her father had given her.
	Eric patted his dog on the head and threw the 
stick once more, max had died two years previously, 
and it had been hard for him to accept the puppy, but 
eventually the puppies charm had won him over. He 
looked up again to the balcony, and the sight made 
his heart sink. It had become a regular occurrence 
over the years, becoming more and more regular as 
time progressed. He hated to see her unhappy but he
 was at a loss as to what to do. The dog called 
sebastian had retrieved the stick and was waiting 
obediently at his feet, Areil had already named him 
when she had given him to him. He crouched and 
tickled the dog behind the ears,"what can i do ?", he 
asked the dog, "what can i do?", the dog just sat with 
the stick in his mouth and wagged his tail excitedly.
	Since their marriage , the time they spent 
together was filled with happiness and joy, providing 
she generally got what she wanted. To say ariel was 
headstrong or stubborn , would be to say that a 
hurricane was a mild breeze.
	Teaching areil to swim had proved an 
interesting activity, she would insist "I have been 
swimming all my life, i know what to do" and would 
then proceed to half drown herself, in order to prove a
 point. But in no time she was diving of the harbour 
wall, and could out pace everyone, over any distance. 
Eric had finally put a stop to the harbour diving ,as the 
sight of areil in a swimming costume had caused a 
number of accidents  on the adjacent ships.
	Their fist winter was also memorable, it was the 
fist time areil had seen snow, and  eric made the 
mistake of throwing a snow ball, and then showing 
areil how to make them, and after an hour both had 
returned to the palace soaked to the bone and close 
to hypothermia. A truce had been called for the 
following day, and by nightfall a whole garrison of 
snowmen stood guard over the palace.
	And then there was their wedding night, Ariel 
had no idea of what this entailed and eric decided it 
was his responsibility to show her the finer points of 
love. The night involved: shock, pleasant surprise and
 a distinct lack of sleep. It ended with Eric sneaking 
out early in the morning, hiding in one of the many 
drawing rooms, and collapsing onto a couch out of 
shear exhaustion.
	As the storm raged over head, five figures stood
 on a dark ridge overlooking the city, as they watched 
the lights started to go off in all parts, as the populace 
settled in for a peaceful nights rest. One after the 
other, the figures eyes lit up, the central one swam 
forward turned toward the others and held up a 
hand,"halt my friends, let them sleep. I have waited so 
long, a little longer makes no difference. Let us return 
to the cave and make sure of our strength. Triton will 
not be easily defeated".
	Ariel put down the brush and looked up as she 
heard the door open. Eric entered the room and 
smiled at her.
	"That dog definitely  has more energy than I do, 
I don't think i could have thrown that stick again if I  
had wanted to. but he still wanted to play!" he 
illustrate the point by rubbing his shoulder.
	"Oh my poor dear" said ariel as she got up from 
the desk and made Eric sit on the bed,"you sit down 
here and ill see what i can do",she got up behind him 
and started to knead his shoulder.
	"Hmmmphhh", Eric let out a long sigh, "right there".
	"So what was so important it took you away 
from dinner ?", she changed from his shoulder to his 
neck .
	" An envoy has arrived from Hayven, there have 
been attacks on ships in the main trading lanes," he 
explained, "they have sent out ships to investigate, 
but could find nothing. The pirates seem to appear 
from nowhere, could you move a little lower", Ariel 
complied with his request.
	"They must come from somewhere", she said.
	"I know that, but as you say `it is a large 
ocean`".  Eric paused,"you wouldn't know of 
anywhere they may use as a base?"Eric asked.
	Ariel thought," there are hundred's of islands in 
that part of the ocean, they may be using any one of 
	"And it would take months to check them all " 
added Eric. "That's why I have to go to Hayven, their 
convening a council and i have been asked to take 
part ".
	Ariel stopped her massage, "what ? when ?" she asked.
	"Tomorrow at midday" Eric answered.
	"And you only decided to tell me now !" said 
areil angrily.
	" I wanted it to be a surprise ", Eric said 
	"That it most certainly is", Ariel got of the bed 
and stood facing him, "why tomorrow? surely you 
can't be ready by then. Wait a day or two, you know I 
hate it when you go away, this place gets lonely when 
I am on my own ". She gave him such a sorrowful 
look that it would have put sebastian to shame.
	Eric gave a little chuckled ,and reached for her 
hand and stroked it gently. " I think you've got the 
wrong idea, it's not `me` whose going its `we`,you 
really think i would have left you behind? I don't know 
how long this is going to take, and i want you with me.
 you do want to go don you?".
	Ariel physically jumped four inches off the 
ground, and then dived at Eric pinning him to the bed. 
She then started to kiss him deeply. Before things got 
to far she stopped and sat bolt upright, " tomorrow 
midday, ill have to pack  !", she rolled of the bed and 
ran to her wardrobes and flung open the doors.
	Eric sat up,"ill take that as a yes then", and 
watched as she flung clothes into a pile, she changed 
her mind several times over each item. Ariel had 
amassed a huge collection of clothes. this could take 
some time , thought Eric, and flopped back onto the 
	Eric rolled over and stretched out his arm, his 
arm touched nothing but empty sheets, so he opened 
his eyes and got out of bed. He put on his slippers 
and walked over a chair and picked up his dressing 
gown, sun light streamed through the balcony doors 
as he walked to open them. He stepped out into the 
cool morning air, he walked over to the railing and 
looked  down onto the beach, ariel was sat on a rock 
next to one of the deeper pools, in that pool was a 
rather large yellow and blue fish. Eric had seen this 
fish many times before, every time Ariel went near or 
in the water, it seemed to be around.  What was even 
more puzzling was that Ariel appeared to talk to the 
fish, and the fish, judging from her reaction, seemed 
to talk back. Eric had thought this strange at first, and 
when he had enquired about it, she had said ,"he just 
came to tell me all the latest news". And Eric had left 
it at that," you have to make allowances when you 
marry a mermaid", he kept telling himself. And he was 
about make another allowance right now, he 
scratched the back of his head and  walked back 
through the doors and shut them behind him.

	"Flounder you'll never guess where we are 
going", said ariel excitedly.
	"Erm. the great reef ?", Ariel shook her 
head."shark island", she shook her head again.
	"No silly, were going to Hayven", Ariel let this 
hang in the air for a moment,"isn't it great?"
	"Erm yeah ,brilliant", flounders brow furrowed, in 
	"You don't know where it is, do you?"she said, 
as she folded her arms. An evil grin spread over her 
face as she watched Flounder squirm.
	"I do, its across the sea", said flounder 
	"There are hundreds of places across the sea. 
in what direction?".
	"How far?"
	"Ah... ".
	"You don't know do you?"
	"No", said flounder admitting defeat." Ok then, 
were is it?"
	"You remember the kelp forest near the grotto?"
	"Well its about three days swim after that", ariel 
pointed in the general direction,"that way".
	"Ariel!" a shout came from the lower balcony, 
she stood up and  looked and eric waved at 
her,"breakfast!",he shouted and beckoned her in.
	"I have to go", she bent down and gave flounder 
a kiss on the top of his head,"give my love daddy and 
everyone". And with that she ran of up the beach. 
flounder shouted.
	" I will", and waved a fin,"see you later". Ariel 
just waved back as she ran.
	Eric sat at the table and looked at his boiled 
egg, the egg stared back. It was Tuesday it had 
always been kippers on a Tuesday, that had gone out 
the window as soon as Ariel had been told the menu 
for the evening meal the day after the wedding. Areil 
had explained that she was basically vegetarian and 
she would not stand by and watch some of her friends 
eaten. Louis the chef at the time had seen fit to 
object, and after a rather nasty incident involving a 
hand full of fish knives, he had left with peculiar limp. 
Ariel had gone through the menu and had outlawed 
all fish and meat dishes, after some cajoling she had 
relented and had allowed eggs. and so eric sat 
looking at his boiled egg.
	Around the egg cup where worryingly identical 
toast soldiers, their present chef could work miracles 
with vegetables, but had an odd habit of taking to 
himself constantly. Having a conversation with Albert 
was like holding a conference were neither party 
would let the other speak. luckily Albert stayed in his 
kitchen, sometimes sleeping in it, but the food was 
generally good. 
	Ariel entered the dinning room and sat down 
next to Eric."And how are you, packed?"
	"Eventually", she picked up a knife and sliced 
open the top of her egg."You were asleep when I 
finished". she dipped one of the soldiers into the egg 
and took a bite," when do we leave?"
	"At one, we board the Storm at twelve". He 
pushed the egg away and buttered a slice of toast.
	"The Storm, that's one of your fathers battle 
ships". She dipped the soldiers again.
	"I know with the pirates around it seemed 
prudent." Eric bit into the toast.
	"It's that bad?" Ariel asked.
	"Yes, over twenty ships have been lost in the 
last six months".
	"And you are only doing something about it 
now?". Ariel scooped out the rest of her egg and 
reached for the coffee."Want some?"
	"Yes please, we only got a positive sighting a 
month ago, and it takes time to organise such a large 
gathering", Eric took a sip of his  coffee." Anyway i 
have to go to town, coming?" Ariel finished her 
	" Just let me get changed."she said as she rose 
from the table and walked to the door , a figure 
holding an armful of paper greeted her as she opened 
the door.
	"Morning my dear". Said the figure.
	"Morning Grim" she kissed him on the cheek 
and left the room.
	"I tell you Eric, that girl gets more lovely every 
day", he approached the table and sat down.
	Eric smiled,"I know. well Grim what can I do for 
you? Coffee?"
	"Please. Well for a start you can sign these 
papers, you cant go of and leave everything you 
know." Grim put the papers on the table and handed 
a quill to eric and produced a pot of ink.
	" It's a shame you wont come with us" said eric 
as he started to sign the papers.
	"Gallivanting around the world is game for the 
young, im afraid. You and Ariel go and enjoy 
yourselves, Ill keep things going her for your 
return".Eric finished signing the papers and handed 
them back to Grim.
	"I'll miss you old friend". Grim stood up and 
	"I would not want it any other way", he turned 
and walked to the door."I'll be there to see you off, 
just make sure you have everything".
	"Already taken care of". Eric watched him leave 
and sipped at his coffee.

	The light penetrated the cave through small 
holes in the roof, Calim sat in the largest one and sat 
in thought. The time is at hand, he thought, soon 
everything will be mine. I have waited so long, am I 
ready ? One by one he extended his mind to the 
others, all exiled for various crimes, but all with 
power. Reef, Gorm, Tayn and Vash, he did not know 
their real names , nor did he want to, they had sworn 
allegiance to him and to each other. He felt the power 
running through them, would it be enough to defeat 
Triton? He was not sure, Triton had great power, but 
he also had humanity, that would be his weakness. 
Build your strength, he thought, the time will soon be 
at hand.

	The road winded its way to the town, Eric sat 
with his feet up on the front of the carriage. Ariel was 
holding the reins." Why do you have to go to town?" 
She asked.
	" I have to see the tailor, court season starts 
soon and we will be required to attend."
	 Ariel grimaced, court season again, she hated it 
with a vengeance, it had been impossible to keep 
secret the story of where she had come from, the 
locals in the town had accepted her straight away. But 
the ladles at court steered clear of her as if she had 
some kind of a disease, the stories of the "Fish 
Princess" had been very hurtful, and even intervention 
by Erics farther had not but a complete end to them. 
Eric saw the look on Ariels face and put his arm 
around her.
	"It's only for a fortnight, I promise we wont stay 
a moment longer than we have to", he lent over and 
kissed her on the neck.
	"Stop it I am trying to drive. Alright, but if i hear 
one more fish story, i wont be responsible for my 
	The carriage passed over the bridge and 
entered the town square , with its fountain in the 
centre. They tethered the horse to the fountain and 
walked up the main street arm in arm. "How long will 
you be ?"
	"About twenty minuets", he kissed her and 
walked down the street. Ariel felt a tug on her skirt 
and looked down, a child of five was standing there 
sucking his thumb.
	"pwyncess Aweell", he said speaking round his
 thumb and then removing it," will you tell us one of 
your stories?" Ariel looked up and saw the rest of the
 group hiding behind one of the market stalls, she 
could not help but laugh.
	"Of course"she said, and a big cheer came from 
the children, as they ran to her and dragged her to the 
fountain. She sat down and looked around the semi 
circle that had formed, she recognised all the faces 
that looked at her in anticipation. There had been an 
influenza epidemic last year and the palace had been 
turned into  a hospital, the children had remained 
largely healthy but had run riot in the halls of the 
palace till Ariel had sat them all down, and told her 
first story. They were really parts of her life and 
seemed normal to her but to the children they were 
stories of mystical realms, and they could not get 
enough. "Which one would you like to hear?"
	A wall of sound erupted from the children as 
they shouted their favourites, she held up a hand for 
silence. "I know , how about a new one?" Another 
cheer roared from the crowd. " Right then hear goes".
	As Ariel recounted the story the children sat in 
silence, taking in all the nuances of the story. As she 
proceeded those adults within ear shot turned looked 
and listened, gradually the crowed became larger and 
larger, till it filled the square, Ariel sat and told the 
story looking at each child and taking pleasure form 
the joy in there little faces. As the story wound down, 
she looked up and saw that the entire market had 
stopped and gathered round, faces rapt in images of 
the story. The silence hung in the air, and then one by 
one the adults returned to their work, a smile on each 
and every face. As the crowd parted Ariel saw Eric 
standing in the centre of the crowd, arms folded and a 
look in his eye that held nothing but love. She looked 
down told them she had to go, there was no reply. 
They just sat there the story still washing over their 
minds. She walked to Eric who hauled her into a tight 
embrace, when he let go  she asked, "what was that 
	"For one of the most beautiful stories i have 
ever heard", Ariel bit her lip and twirled a finger in her 
hair in embarrassment. "Come on its almost time to 
leave". They walked back to the carriage hand in 
	The wharf was full of familles, as they said a 
tearful goodbye to their fathers and husbands. Ariel 
and Eric exchanged pleasantries as they made there 
way to the gang plank. Grimsby and Carlota were 
waiting at the base, " Ah there you are, the captain is 
waiting to cast of, what took so long?"
	Eric looked at Ariel, "the tailor took a little longer 
than I expected. Is everything aboard?"
	"Well I guess we might as well be off, take care 
Grim", Eric shook Grims hand and nudged him on the 
	"I'll try not to let the place burn down while you 
are away".
	Carlota stepped forward to Ariel,"now you take 
care in these foreign parts deary, wrap up warm and 
don't drink any water unless its boiled". 
	Ariel gave Carlota a hug, "of course, and do try 
to keep Albert away from the gardens, Moris said he 
would kill him and bury him in the potato patch if 
caught him  in there again".
	"Don't you worry, I'll keep those two apart, of 
you go", Ariel and Eric walked up the gang plank, 
when they reached the top it was removed. Carlota 
shouted up to Eric, "if anything happens to my little 
girl, you'll have me to answer to!".
	Eric laughed and held his arms out wide,"what 
can happen!", he shouted back.
	Ariel looked at her reflection, as she tied the 
blue ribbon around her hair. There, she thought, what 
else. She studied the image that looked back at her, 
she was wearing the blue neglige that he had bough 
her, with a blue lace dressing gown. She chewed her 
thumb-nail in thought, and then reached for her 
jewellery box, she rummaged around and found what 
she was looking for. She held it up to the light, blue 
flecks of light sparkled around the room as the light 
from the lantern was reflected off the many facets of 
the sapphire, she stroked the silver setting and 
remembered the fist time she had seen it. It had been 
her sixteenth birthday, the party had long been over 
and she lay in bed drifting of to sleep, when she had 
herd a cough at the door, and she had sat up and 
stared bleary eyed as her father swam in and sat on 
the end of the bed.
	"Daddy? What is it?" she had asked.
	"Did you notice anything, missing today?"
	"Do you really think I let my youngest daughters 
birthday pass without a gift?" Ariel gasped.
	"With all the excitement I didn't realise".
	"Precisely the reason I waited till now", he had 
reached over and placed a clam shell on her lap, 
slowly it had opened, revealing the amulet. Ariel had 
picked it up and laid it on her palm.
	"Daddy it's beautiful", she had said her voice 
shaking in disbelief.
	"Your mother made it before she died, she told 
me to give it to you today, and to give you her love". 
Ariel had flung her arms around her father and had 
began to cry.
	Ariel was snapped back to the present by the 
door opening, she wiped the tear that had trickled 
down her cheek away and turned around. Eric had 
sat on a chair and was pouring two glasses of wine, 
he picked them up and walked over and handed one 
to Ariel."You alright?"
	"Just memories", she smiled and fastened the 
amulet around her neck, and then stood up and gave 
him a twirl. "What do you think?"
	"Very nice, why all the trouble?"
	"I thought we could treat this trip as a second 
honeymoon",as she said this she got up and sat on 
the bottom of the bed, a big grin spread across Erics 
face, as he rose and walked over to where she sat.
	"I didn't even realise the last one had finished", 
Ariel put both her hands on his stomach and pushed 
them up to his chest.
	"Oh, that one finished about thirty seconds ago"
, she started to unbutton his shirt.
	"And when does the next one start?"he asked, 
she finished the buttons and reached up and grasped
 his shirt with both hands.
	"How about now", she pulled him down to the 
	The five stood on ridge once more, the lights in
 he city were all out. Calim held up a hand."Let us 
begin". As their eye's lit up a glow swirled around 
them, becoming more intense and swirling faster and
 faster. The swirling cloud rose and coagulated into a
 ball above their heads. the ball pulsated larger and 
brighter with each second. The pulse steadied and 
became constant, the light was blinding."Now is the 
time"said Calim his voice booming, the five started to
 move forward.

	Eric stood at the bow of the ship, in the 
background the shadow of an island slid by. He smelt
 her perfume before he felt her arms around his waist, 
and her head against his shoulder.
	"Perhaps you could explain, why we have made
 over a days and a half distance, since we left. And 
why the currents seem to be going in with us, instead 
of there usual direction ?"
	Ariel gave a little laugh, "Flounder must have 
told daddy, where we were going. You have to admit
 being the daughter of the king of the sea does have 
its advantages". Eric turned and held her closely.
	As they both looked out to sea, a glow became 
visible on the horizon. "What's that?" said Eric, as 
they looked the glow became brighter and streaks of 
light passed across the horizon.
	"Its to early to be dawn" said Ariel, the streaks 
became more frequent, a flash of light appeared over
 the horizon, Eric looked at Ariel and saw a blue glow 
emitting from her neck,"what..", before he could finish
 Ariel grabbed him by the arm and hauled him to the 
other side of the ship.
	"Into the water!" She shouted.
	"Why?" said Eric.
	"Don't argue", they both dived into the water, 
when they surfaced Ariel shouted, "swim as fast as 
you can", and she began to swim away, Eric swam to
 keep up with her.
	From the horizon, a line of light raced across 
the sea, in its wake the water exploded in a cloud of
 steam. It struck the ship in the middle, engulfing it in
 a globe of white light. Eric and Ariel stopped and 
looked, the ship was dissolving within the light, 
becoming fainter with each second. Suddenly the 
globe erupted in a pillar of flame that lasted an 
instant, and then was gone.
	"Dear god", exclaimed Eric.
	"Did anyone survive ?"Asked Ariel.
	"I doubt it" answered Eric.
	"What do we do now?" her voice hollow as she 
stared at the empty sea before her.
	"We cant stay here, we better make for the 
island", the glow had gone and the first pre dawn light 
started to show, as they swam to shore. 
	The waves crashed as they both staggered onto
 the beach, and collapsed out of exhaustion side by 
side. Ariel brushed the wet hair from her face and 
placed both her hands on her face, "what happened?"
 She asked.
	"I wish I knew, how did you know we had to get 
off?" he replied.
	"I saw the light, and felt it was wrong. I knew we 
had to get away, it was all I could think of". She 
removed her hands from her face,"I still cant believe 
all those men are gone, what will we tell there 
families?" She sat up and looked herself over.
	"What can we tell? We don't know what 
happened, at least we are alive so they wont be 
written of as another pirate attack", Eric fished in his 
collar and retrieved a piece of seaweed,"anyway who 
can we tell, it might be weeks or months before 
another ship comes by." he stood up and looked 
around, "wether we like it or not, this place looks like 
home for the foreseeable future".
	Ariel reached behind her head and removed the
 ribbon, she shook her hair out, "And what are we to 
do in the meantime". She looked at Eric, who gave 
her an easily recognisable smile. Ariel rolled on to her
 side and tilted her head,"well that's the first fifteen 
minuets sorted out, what about the rest?" She let out 
a squeal as Eric jumped on her and pinned her to the 
	"Your the one who wanted a second 
honeymoon, well heres our chance". He looked 
around again," come on lets find some breakfast". He 
rose to his feet and then helped her up.
	"Thirty people have just died and all you can 
think of, is food and sex". she remarked hotly. Eric 
held her hand.
	"Mourning them is not going to help us, there 
will be plenty of time when we get back home for that, 
our first priority is survival, and the first aspect of 
survival is food. Come on lets see what we can find". 

	They both walked up the beach and into the 
tree line. Gathering food on the way, and relying on 
Eric's knowledge of the local flora to avoid anything 
poisonous, they had amassed a healthy supply by the 
time they stopped on a hill overlooking a large bay. 
Eric located a flat stone and set to work opening a 
coconut, Ariel sat down and started peeling a banana, 
"might there be anyone on this island?"
	"It doesn't look like it, there were no tracks or 
signs of life anywhere. Looks like were on our own. 
Yes". He took a sip of the open coconut and passed it
 to Ariel and started on another. "Where lucky these 
don't usually grow this far north, the valley must be 
very sheltered". The coconut opened, and he walked 
over and sat next to Ariel. As he drank his eyes 
wondered to Ariel, for an instant he saw he face 
bathed in blue light, and then he remembered. He 
reached over and pointed to the amulet. "I remember,
 just before we dived into the water, this thing was 
glowing". Ariel looked down.
	"Daddy said it was for protection, my mother 
made it for me when I was little, I thought it was just a 
good luck charm", she lifted it in the palm of her hand 
and inspected it closely. "Maybe it's more than that, I 
heard a voice telling me what to do". Letting the 
amulet fall to her chest she rubbed her temples
, " I don't know". They sat and ate in silence, Ariel 
looked out across the bay below them, movement 
caught her eye as she looked at the far headland. 
Unclear due to the darkening cloud filled sky, it took a 
moment before she realised what it was, " A ship !", 
she shouted , nudging Eric with her elbow so that he 
almost choked. "Look down there", she pointed in the 
direction, he followed her hand and saw the ship. 
They both rose together and watched as the ship 
rounded the head, " We're saved",she said, and threw
 her arms around Eric, she stopped when she found 
him unresponsive. 
	Still staring at the now fully visible ship, Eric 
stood not moving,"I would not be so sure about that ",
 his voice hollow, "look at the stern". She looked and 
all hope drained away, fluttering in the breeze, was a 
large black flag , with what from this distance looked 
like white smudges, but she knew what they were. 
The two stood and watched as the pirate ship passed
 the island by, and entered the channel that separated
 their island from the next, a plume of white smoke 
appeared on the island's cliff face, followed by a faint 
crack of sound. The ship approached the island, 
gathered its sails, and dropped anchor. Spots of rain 
started to fall as the sky grew ever darker, "Do you 
think they know we are here", Ariel asked.
	"The one's on the ship don't, but I would bet that 
the ones on the other island do". He looked at the 
sky, "We had better find somewhere to shelter, it 
looks like were in for a storm". Ariel gave a half 
hearted laugh.
	" You can say that again".

	It didn't take them long to find a cave, the 
volcanic origins of the island chain had produced 
numerous caves, but finding one that could be made 
habitable had proved more of a challenge. "Eric be 
careful, you'll fall in", the rain poured from the sky, 
they both stood at the entrance, looking into the 
gloom. Eric stood at the edge and looked down, " 
theres a little drop but..", his shifted his feet, but found
 no grip. Ariel watched as he slid into the hole.
	"Eric!" She shouted rushing to the edge.
	"I'm alright" he called back, " it's not deep at all, 
come down". Ariel sat on the edge and lowered her 
legs, she felt Erics hands on the soles of her feet, " 
right push off", he said, and she complied, a split 
second later she was in his arms. 
	"Are you alright? That's a bit of a ...", she turned 
and walked into the darkness.
	"Fine, I landed on something soft", he rubbed 
his backside in an attempt to get some feeling back. "
 Now where are you going?" he walked up level to her
 and looked at her expressionless face, her eyes 
staring straight ahead. He waved a hand in front of 
her face.
		"Follow me", she commanded, a cone of 
light projected from the amulet, illuminating the 
passage ahead. She walked forward, and Eric 
followed her. They walked deep into the passage, it 
never changed direction, or gradient, and it was ten 
minuets before it opened into a cavern. The cavern 
was empty except for a huge clam shell bathed in it 
own blue light. Ariel stopped before the shell, two 
wisps of blue light emerged from Ariels amulet and 
the shell, they twisted and turned as they sought each 
other out.  The closer they came to each other the 
brighter the light became in the cavern, as they 
touched a white flash filled the chamber. Eric blinked 
to regain his sight, as it returned he saw the clam 
shell opening, the swirls of light had gone and Ariel 
was on her knees breathing heavily. The shell 
finished opening, revelling a blue Trident. A flash of 
light came from the centre point and struck the far 
wall, Ariel and Eric watched as a figure formed, with 
long red hair and green scales the Mermaid came into
 existence, and began to speak.
	"As the amulet was used to open the shell, it 
must be you Ariel that has found me. I left you this 
message for when you came of age, the amulet that 
brought you here is part of the trident, your father was 
to give it to you on your sixteenth birthday, and bring 
you here on your twenty first. Even in your youngest 
years I saw properties in you that had not appeared in
 your sisters, you had a insatiable thirst for 
knowledge, wanting to know anything about 
everything, I tried to help guide you, but alas it was 
not meant to be".  Eric looked down at Ariel and saw 
the tears running down her face, he crouched and put 
his arms around her." It is customary for the wife of 
the ruler to carry the blue trident, but your Farther still 
has a long life in front of him. I chose you to bear my 
trident, and to aid your farther in anyway you can, 
again I wish I could have taught you more, but some 
things are not meant to be. All I can do is send you 
my love, and hope that you will fulfil your destiny, and 
do what is right". The image faded, and Ariel stood up
 and wiped the tears from her face, she walked 
towards the trident with its glowing halo, she grasped 
the shaft and the glow surrounded her and 
	Eric called to her, " Ariel are you alright?" In 
answer the cavern was bathed in light' as Ariel stood 
there one arm raised, holding the trident with a blue 
ball of fire at its end, and a smile on her tear streaked 
	"I think I'll manage, lets go", and they both 
walked to the exit. 
	They reached the bottom of the entrance wall, 
eric looked up at the sky,"the clouds have gone. it 
morning!" he exclaimed.
	"Time gets distorted around magic",Ariel 
	"Right. Well at least it will be easy to get out", 
he pointed to a series of hand holds, that lead up the 
wall, "I'll go first", he climbed up the wall. Ariel called 
for him to help her, but got no reply, so she placed the
 trident on the ground and climbed up herself. As she 
pulled herself over the lip, she was grabbed by the 
arm and hauled upright.
	"Well look what we have here, my shes a pretty 
one". Ariel looked around her, Eric was knelt down 
with a pistol pointed at his head by a man in sailors 
clothes, she looked at her captor and shied away as 
he placed his hand on her chin. "You should really 
take care, we saw your fire all through the night. very 
careless", he looked her up and down." Its been 
months since we last saw a pretty like you", he looked
 at his companion,"what say we have some fun 
before we take them back", he moved his hand lower 
down her neck, and kept it going. He moved his head 
closer to hers, she could smell his stale breath,"of 
course, I get to go first". Ariel braced herself and 
brought her knee up into his groin with as much force 
as she could muster, he folded in half, but she could 
not break free of his grasp. He straightened up, anger
 flaring in his eyes. "Bitch!" He shouted, as he swung 
his fist at her face, the blow pulled Ariel from his 
grasp, with no space behind her she fell into the cave 
entrance. She landed hard on her side, the taste of 
blood in her mouth. She reached out instinctively and 
felt the cold weight of the trident.
	Eric reeled from the kick to his ribs, "you ought 
to teach your lady more manners", laughed the 
second pirate, he lashed out again for good measure.
	A column of blue light burst from the entrance to 
the cave, Eric watched as Ariel rose within the light, 
her hair writhing from the power and a streak of blood 
trickling down the right side of her face. The two 
pirates stood, struck dumb by the display, Eric rolled 
away from them as Ariel raised the trident high and 
swung it down. A line of blue fire shoot from the end, 
as it struck the ground , it exploded in a shower of 
rubble, the line of fire struck the two pirates, and both 
vanished in an explosion of light. 
	Ariel lowered herself to the ground, as the blue 
column disappeared. She ran over to Eric and rolled 
him over , Eric grimaced in pain and held his ribs. 
"Hold still", she told him, she placed her hand on his 
and closed her eyes in concentration. The halo 
appeared around the trident, Eric stopped his grimace
 and sat up, she placed her hand on her face and 
concentrate again. Eric watched as the swelling that 
had started, was reduced to nothing. Ariel opened her
 eyes and looked back at the mess around the cave 
entrance, she started to bite a nail, " I did that ?"

	"You seemed to know what you were doing", 
commented Eric. Ariel looked down at the trident in 
her lap.
	"Daddy said all you have to do is will what you 
want, and the trident will find a way to make it 
happen", she twirled it in her fingers and thought, a 
large smile worked its way across her face. "I think I 
just found our way off this island", Eric looked 
	"How?", Ariel stood up.
	"All in good time", she looked across the 
channel at the pirate ship, "first things first". She 
pointed trident at  the ship, a bolt of energy burst for 
the end and flew across the channel, it struck the bow 
of the ship, vaporising it. Immediately the ship began 
to sink, Eric stood up and watched as the pirates 
abandoned ship, and swam ashore.
	"That's one way to solve the problem, what 
next?" she turned and pecked him on the cheek.
	"Now lets go down to the beach" she grabbed 
his hand and dragged him down the hill.

	They stood on the beach, the sun was 
approaching midday. Eric picked up a pebble and 
skimmed it across the water. "Now will you tell me 
what you have planned?"
	"Its simple really, I use the trident to change us 
both into merpeople, and we swim home. Via 
daddies, I have to speak to him".
	"Just like that".
	"Yes", she answered. 
	Eric shrugged,"what do I have to do?"
	"Take of your clothes and stand in the water, I 
will do the same". Eric complied and was stood in the 
water when she came to join him. She had torn a 
piece of material from her neglige, and had tied a not 
in it. She placed it around her chest and turned her 
back to Eric, "will you tie this for me? It's not high 
fashion not but it will do, Andrina and I are the same 
size, I'll borrow something better when we get there" 
Eric did what he was asked, "thanks. Right lets do it".
	Ariel held the trident upside down, a thin line of 
light entered the water. A blue whirlpool of light 
formed around them both, Eric could feel his leg's 
drawn together and then lose all support. When he 
broke the surface, couching and sputtering, he could 
see Ariel laughing at him.
	"What's so funny?"
	"Your a merman now, you can breath 
	He didn't feel any different . He located a rock 
and hauled himself on to it, and looked down. He 
lifted his tail out of the water, yes that's a tail, he 
thought, and let it down again. Eric wished he had a 
strong drink handy. The water exploded next to him 
as Ariel flew through the air, performing a somersault 
halfway through, and executing a perfect dive at the 
end. She surfaced next to him, " show off", he said as
 he splashed her with water with his tail. Ariel lifted 
herself and kissed him on the lips.
	"The sooner we set off the sooner we get to 
daddies, the sooner we can get home", Eric slid of the
 rock and into the water. He stayed under and tried 
breathing, it worked, so he tried swimming, he was 
nowhere near Ariels grace, but he could get along. 
	As they swam from the island, Eric said to Ariel, 
"it all looks different from down here".
	"Better get used to it, from here on in, you are 
part of my world".

	Calim sat on the throne and looked at 
Triton,"where is the trident?" Triton looked up at 
calim, hatred burned form his eyes.
	"You think I would hand over, that much power, 
to you?", he tried to struggle from the grasp of Gorm 
and Vash, as they held him by his manacled hands.
	Calim laughed out loud, "the way I see it you 
don't have any other choice". he picked up the crown 
form the arm rest, and examined it. "I rule here now, 
and I will have all the power that goes with it, it would 
be a shame if your daughters had to pay the price for 
your unwillingness to help me. Think it over, you have 
until tomorrow midday to make up your mind. After 
that, one shall die for each day you defy me". 
	He placed the crown back on the arm and 
extended an arm to both Gorm and Vash ,"pity, they 
were  so looking forward to becoming more 
acquainted with them", he made a dismisive 
gesture,"take him back to his cell and let him think", 
Gorm yanked the chain and dragged Triton from the 
	Vash stayed,"you think he will give you the 
	"Of course he will, or he will see his daughters 
die one by one, Triton would never let that happen. I 
think I will look them over, I will need a Queen after 
	Vash looked up and smiled,"some of them are 
married" he said.
	Calim shrugged," If I decide to marry one, they 
will find themselves a widow very quickly"
	As the moon light poured through the crystal 
sea, Ariel flashed past the rocks and stopped as the 
sea bed dropped away, she turned and saw Eric 
following at a distance,"come on were almost there".
	"Where?", called Eric.
	"You'll see", Ariel waited till Eric caught up, " its 
just down here". Ariel swam down the side of the cliff, 
and stopped next to a large flat boulder. Eric arrived 
and sat down on the ground and lent back onto the 
boulder and caught his breath.
	"Is this it?" he asked.
	"Not quite", she answered. Floating up she 
grabbed the top of the boulder and pulled, the boulde
r pivoted at its base and opened. "It's in here", she 
said and pulled herself into the opening. As Eric 
straightened up he saw the rock roll back into place, 
following Ariels led he opened the boulder and swam 
	The entrance tunnel was short, he could see 
Ariel floating in the centre, bathed in a shower of 
moon light, motionless. He stopped as he swam 
towards her, his vision was filled with artifacts, chests,
 paintings, jewellery, all stored on the natural ledges 
of the grotto. He looked around and saw paintings by 
passed masters, jeweller that would cost half a 
kingdom to buy, and a box with thirty corkscrews in it. 
On  another ledge stood bathed in a shaft of moon 
light, a candelabra, with a full place setting resting in 
the holders. He floated up behind Ariel, she was 
scanning the ledges a look of disbelief on her face, 
the trident slipped to the ground, she turned around.
	"I don't understand, it was mostly destroyed", 
her brow furrowed as she tried to make sense of it all. 
	"Destroyed by who?" Eric asked. He looked 
around, everything seemed normal.
	"My farther ..", she stopped and placed a hand 
over her mouth, "that's it ", she said and darted across
 the cavern.
	"That's what?" Asked Eric totally lost. He 
watched her as she moved from ledge to ledge, 
spiralling upwards, she searched each ledge before 
moving on to the next. She reached the top and 
halted, slowly she floated down in the column moon 
light, to the rock that rested in the centre of the floor, 
as she  reached the rock Eric swam down to join her. 
	She turned to him,"daddy must have done it", 
she looked around, "he must have fixed everything". 
Eric, shuffled closer and put his arms around her 
waist, and held her close. She rested her head 
against his shoulder, "he's just a big softy a heart", 
she said laughing. Eric still not understanding, 
decided it was best not to ask, he looked around the 
grotto once more. 
	So many treasures, he thought. How long must 
it have taken to gather them all. Out of the corner of 
his eye he spotted a figure, pushing Ariel behind him, 
he placed his hand on the rock , ready to react. "Eric, 
What's the matter?" Asked Ariel.
	"Over there in the corner", he nodded in the 
direction. Ariel looked into the corner, and started to 
	"I don't think that posses any threat Eric". She 
swam into the corner and beckoned him over. 
Reluctantly he swam to meet her , as his eyes 
became used to the darkness, he recognised his own
	"Ahh, I thought I had seen the last of that 
monstrosity", Ariel was circling the statue, examining 
it with a critical eye. She stopped an draped an arm 
around its neck.
	"I think, it shows the real you. Masterful, 
dominating", Eric interrupted her.
	"It makes me look a right arse", he shook his 
head,"at least its down here, if anyone from my old 
infantry brigade saw it, they would have made my life 
hell. What was Grim thinking of, it's horrible".
	 Ariel gave the statue a kiss on the cheek." I like 
it, its only a shame we cant take it home", She sat on 
the statues extend knee and lent against its shoulder.
	"Over my dead body. Anyway how did you get 
that, that,", Eric searched for a word,"thing here? The 
ship sank miles away, and that  weighs almost half a 
	Ariel began to answer, but stopped herself. 
Flounder couldn't have moved it by himself, she 
would have to ask him, when they reached Atlantica. 
"I didn't bring it, Flounder did. I think he and I will 
have a little chat". 
	Eric gave a little yawn.      "Well I think we should 
get some sleep", he looked around the ledges, and 
sure enough, he found two blankets, two pillows and 
a small mattress. "You really do have everything in 
here don't you".
	Ariel gave a shrug, "I didn't know what anything 
was, so I got everything I could find". Eric found a flat 
space for the mattress, and laid out the blankets. He 
then flicked his tail, rolled and floated down to their 
bed. Ariel swam over and sat next to him.
	"You really are starting to get the hang of that". 
Eric propped himself up on one elbow and stroked 
her arm.
	"It's fantastic, its like flying. It's something that 
will stay with me for the rest of my life, I almost don't 
want it to end". Ariel looked away, she grasped a 
stray wisp of hair on toyed with it. 
	Eric sat up, " you really miss all this don't you?"
	Ariel looked at him, a tear starting to roll down 
her face,"has it become that obvious?"
	Eric reached up and wiped away the tear,"only 
to those who love you, I kept waiting for you to say 
something, to let me know what was wrong". 
	Ariel straightened , swam a few feet away form 
Eric, she took a deep breath and turned around, arms 
folded  tears flowing down her face.    "How could I 
explain, you couldn't even begin to understand".
	"You should have tried, I know you gave up a lot
 to be with me". He reached out to her but she moved 
away from his touch.
	"I would have given up a lot more". Eric could 
see the longing in her eyes. "But I cant change what I 
am, was , oh I don't know", she buried her head in her 
hands and sank to the floor. Eric swam to her, and 
picked her up, he returned to the bed and sat with 
Ariel sobbing in his arms. 
	"But I understand now",he said softly," the ability 
to rise and fall on a whim, to move in any direction 
you want. To know it all your life, and then to leave it 
behind", he shook his head in disbelief, "what must 
you have gone through, for me". The thought of it 
made him twist and knot inside, he lifted Ariel's chin, 
he brushed away the hair that had fallen onto her 
face, and looked straight into her blue eyes. "We'll 
find a way, you can count on that", he kissed her on 
the forehead, and held her close. 

	The sunlight came through the opening in the 
roof, and filling the grotto. Eric stirred and opened his 
eyes, he looked down and saw Ariel sleeping soundly,
 resting in the crook of his arm. He gently removed his 
arm from under her, and floated up from the bed. He 
looked around him once more, he still could not 
believe the heart ache that she was going through, he 
had promised to find a way to help her get over it. But 
in the light of day, he couldn't think of anything that 
would help, maybe her farther can come up with 
something, he thought, I don't have a clue. He heard 
a rustle from below him, so he floated down and sat 
on the bed.
	"And how is my reason for living this morning?" 
He said , leaning down and kissing her tenderly.
	"Hungry", she answered, giving him a 
reassuring smile. "We can get something at the 
palace, we can be there in fifteen minuets".
	Eric gave a look of fake surprise, "you mean 
theres something that isn't here?"
	Ariel swam up to a mirror and arranged her 
hair,"there is, but I know how long it's been here". She 
finished her hair and with a flick of her tail was with 
Eric again. "Daddy will have a heart attack when he 
see's us", she turned and looked toward the entrance, 
the trident was where she had dropped it, she picked 
it up and swam to one of the uppermost ledges, she 
placed the trident down. 
	Eric called up, "why don't you take it with you?"
	Ariel floated down, "Sometime's when I hold it, it
 makes me feel strange, thoughts pass through my 
mind that I would never dream of doing. There is to 
much power for me to control , I need my fathers 
advice before I can continue ". She reached for his 
hand, "it will be safe here for now, let's go".
	They swam hand in hand from the grotto, 
passed reef's, sand banks and rock formations that 
Eric would never have dreamed possible. Eric felt 
Ariel's grip on his hand tighten.
	"Something's wrong", Eric glanced at her 
worried face.
	"How do you mean, wrong?"
	"Where are all the fish?", he could almost hear 
the  fear her voice. He hadn't seen any fish at all, but 
he didn't know what was normal. If Ariel was 
concerned, there must be something very wrong. 
	Over a rise Eric saw a spire, as they swam 
towards it, it seemed to rise put of the ground. They 
crested the rise and Ariel stopped, her hand shot to 
her mouth as she gasped, her eyes starring at the site 
before them. Where once the great and beutiful city 
of Atlantica had stood, was a blackened charred 
mess. Massive swathes of the city had be utterly 
destroyed, the rest laid in ruin, the palace alone had 
not been damaged. Eric had served some time in his 
fathers army, he had seen cities who had endured 
months of bombardment, but nothing could compare 
to this. 
	Areil finally found her voice, but it was shaky 
and weak, "my sisters, my farther", she made to swim 
forward, but a yellow blur cannoned into Areil, 
sending her spinning into a patch of seaweed. Eric 
rushed over and parted the weed, Ariel sat up and 
brushed the hair from her face. She looked down and 
saw a yellow quivering mass.
	"Flounder!", she picked him up and saw the 
terror in his eyes. "What happened? Were is 
	Flounder tried to speak through his 
stutter,"T,t,they came"
	"Who?"asked Ariel.
	"F,f,five came", Ariel stroked his back.
	"Calm down, and tell me", Flounder took a deep 
	"They came, five of them. I wwwas going to the 
ppalace, when bolts of light struck the city. They 
destroyed half, and ordered Kking Ttriton to sur 
surrender, when he refused, they destroyed the other 
	Ariel asked,"what happened to the people?", 
flounder looked away. 
	"The ones that didn't run, were either 
enchanted, or...", Flounder looked at Ariel, a tear 
starting to well in his eye.
	"What about my Family?" Asked Ariel.
	Flounder pointed t the spire with his fin, "there 
prisoners in the palace". 
	Eric interrupted, "you said something about 
enchantment?", Eric stopped, yes he had just spoken 
to a fish.
	Flounder nodded," once most of the city was in 
ruin, they sent out a spell. Any merfolk it touched, 
came under their control. The five have them 
searching for the rest of the population, and patrolling 
the cities boundary, in case anyone comes back", he 
looked at Ariel, "you  have to get out of here, they are 
all over the place"
	" I think that might be a problem" added Eric.
	Ariel looked up and saw a ring of merfolk 
descending on them. Each with a sharp looking 
harpoon, and an emotionless faces. Eric looked for 
an escape route, but could not find one. The ring 
surrounded them, Ariel looked at  their faces she 
recognised a few, but when her gaze landed on a thin 
figure with blonde hair, she called out.
	"Urchin! Its me Ariel!" She swam to him, but 
stopped short as Urchins harpoon swung up and 
pointed at her neck, she searched his face but found 
no hint of recognition. "But its me"
	Urchin lowered his harpoon and pointed it 
towards the palace. "Move!", he commanded. Areil 
turned around, and saw Eric being pushed towards 
the palace, she looked for Flounder, but he was 
nowhere in sight. She started as she was grabbed by 
the arm by Urchin and thrown towards the palace. 
"Move!" He commanded once more, and bought his 
harpoon level with Ariel's waist, she looked again at 
his face , and then complied, at least she hoped she 
would see her farther.

	Calim held a small cage in his hands, he looked 
in, and laughed as a red claw tried to take the end of 
his nose off, "I see you still have some fight left in 
	"You let me out of this cage and I'll show you 
how much I have left", came the thickly Jamaican 
accented reply.
	Calim gave a little chuckle, and shook the cage 
up and down. He looked in again and saw Sebastian 
quite unconscious, "he'll learn, sooner or later, they all 
will learn".
	He heard a cough from the door, Reef floated at
 the entrance. "Yes".
	"Two stragglers have been captured on the 
outskirts of the city"
	"And why should this interest me?", he placed 
the cage with the comatose Sebastian on a shelf.
	" One has been identified as princess Ariel"
	"The youngest one. And who else?"
	"No-one knows sire"
	Calim swam to the door,"very well, have them 
brought to the throne room, I would like to see how 
she has matured "

	Ariel looked at Eric as they were taken through 
the palace, "this isn't exactly how I wanted to show 
you my old home". 
	Eric could not help but smile, "I don't think now 
is a good time for joke's Ariel" 
	Ariel gave a shrug, "where did Flounder go?"
	Eric shrugged back, "he just went". 
	Ariel started to chew her bottom lip. "I hope he's
	Eric shook his head, "we are being taken by 
armed guard, through your fathers palace, and your 
worried about him?!"
	"I just don't like the idea of him being alone", 
she looked around her,"we are going to the throne 
	"Some how I don't think your fathers there", 
finished Eric.

	Calim sat at the throne once more, as Ariel and 
Eric were brought before him. His eyes fell upon Ariel
, and his mind was made up. "Well, well, what have we here."
	"Who are you? What have you done to my 
family?", demanded Ariel.
	"Let's just say I am an old friend of your fathers.
 As to your relatives, they are well , but how long they 
remain so depends on your farther."
	"Why?", she asked, not wanting to know the 
	"Well, I have need of his trident, but he is 
unwilling to give it to me. So one of your sisters will 
have to die". A look of shock sprang to Ariels face. 
"Don't worry, I have other plans for you"
	"You will not touch her!", Eric shouted, anger 
burning in his eyes.
	Calim looked at him with disdain, "and you 
	"Her husband"
	Calim raised his brow"Ahh, a pity". He waved 
Reef over from his place at the entrance. "Why don't 
you take this young merman, and show him your 
hobbie, Reef"
	An evil grin spread across his lop-sided face, 
"thank you sire", Reef signaled to two gauds and they
 grabbed him from the floor and took him from the throne room.
	"Eric!", shouted Ariel, she tried to go after him 
but she was held back by another guard, she looked 
back at Calim.
	"I am sorry , but I am a stickler for tradition. And
 I have no time to wait for a divorce, I need a queen 
Ariel, and I have chosen you".

	Eric tried to struggle as his wrists were tied to 
the wall. Reef entered the room. "Save your strength
 my friend, you will need it". 
	Reef circled the room, carrying an ornate 
sceptre. He held it up for Eric to see,"you like? I stole
 it form a very angry Ursula, ohh it must be twelve 
years ago now. She was always collecting odd bit's 
of magic, hiding them away in that grotty hole of hers.
 She always said, "someday something will come in 
useful, it would be nice to have it when it does".
 Small sparks began to emit from the end of the 
sceptre. "I once saw her use this on a shark, it lasted 
for almost three days before it died." He looked at 
Eric's stern face. "Don't worry, I don't have that 
amount of spare time"
	Reef lowered the sceptre and moved towards 
Eric, soon half the palace could hear him scream.

	Ariel waited as one of the double guard opened 
the door, she swam in and saw her farther. Sat on a 
bed with his head in his hands, he looked up and 
surprise , and then horror crossed his face. He started
 to talk, but his eyes zeroed in at the amulet around 
her neck, and the question died on his lips. Ariel 
darted over to him and flung her arms around him.
	"Daddy, their going to kill Eric",she said sobbing
 on his shoulder,"and one of the girls. Who are these 
people? And what do they want?"

	Triton pulled Ariel from him, and sat her down, 
he hung his head. "It's all my fault, Areil. They are all 
rapists, murderers or worse. I should have killed them
 instead of banishing them".  Triton shook his 
head."But that would have made me the same as 
them. And now they are back, and all they want is 
power". He picked up Ariel's amulet,"you found your 
mother then?"

	Ariel looked down. "Yes, why didn't you tell 
	Triton let the amulet fall back into place. "You 
had made a new life for yourself, I didn't want to 
	He looked into Ariels eyes, a cold seriousness in
 them. "You have the trident close?" She started to 
answer, but Triton put a finger to her lips. "Then 
maybe all is not lost".
	They were interrupted by a click at the door, 
Triton held up a finger. "Remember this, the key lay
 within Eric". The door opened and a guard came in, 
Ariel kissed her farther, and headed for the door. 

	As she passed the door the guard spoke. "Calim 
has summed you"

	Eric breathed hard, trying to regain some 
breath, and bracing for the next onslaught of pain. 
Torturing for information he could just understand, but 
this was for the pure pleasure of Reef. Reef, all that 
had kept him going this far, was the wish to see him 
dead, all he needed was the right time to strike.
	Reef patted him on the cheek. "You really 
disappoint me, I thought you would last longer than 
this. I believe you said your name was, Eric, hard to 
make out through the noise. Well Eric, I am afraid we 
will have to call it a night". He lifted the sceptre again. 
	Now or never, flashed across Eric mind. He 
lunged forward with his tail, wrapping it around Reefs 
neck. Reef struggled, trying to unwrap Erics tail, but 
Eric held on. The colour started to drain from Reefs 
face as he brought up the sceptre and jabbed it into 
Eric's side. The contractions spasmed through Erics 
body, passing down his length and into his tail, which 
contracted with such force that Eric heard the crack 
of bone and felt the limp body of Reef slide from his 
	Eric dropped against the wall, breathing hard. 
There came a smash of glass from the upper reaches 
of the room, Eric tried to look up but the weight of his 
head was to much. 
	"Eric?", came the voice. Eric tried to focus on 
the origin of the, sound but could only see a yellow 
	"Eric! Come on, Ariels in trouble as well". This 
stirred a weak supply of adrenalin, Eric lifted his head 
and shook away some of the drowsiness. He looked 
around him and found what was talking to him.
	"Flounder , Right?". Flounder nodded. "can you 
get these ropes off my wrists?"
	"Ill try ". Flounder swam to the floor and picked 
up a shard of glass in his mouth and cut one of the 
	Eric took the glass from Flounder and cut the 
other one. "Thanks", he picked at the knots and 
removed the ropes completely, he rubbed the 
circulation back into his hands. "get out of sight" he 
	He moved over to behind the door, he rapt 
softly on it, it opened as the guard came in. As soon 
as he was in sight Eric brought down both his hands 
and clubbed the guard on the back of the neck. As 
the guard sank to the floor he swam down and 
retrieved the harpoon. He looked over to the body of 
Reef and saw the sceptre, he picked that up also. He 
toyed with it in his hand , and then smashed it to 
shards against the wall.
	"Right", he said. Pulse racing, "where is Ariel?"
	Ariel slowly made her way to the centre of the 
room, she recognised it as her fathers, but like the 
rest of the palace it had an unsettling aura about it. 
She fought back her fear for Eric, it threatened to 
overwhelm her, but she had to keep a clear head, if 
she was to do any good at all.
	"Make your self at home". Came the  voice from 
one of the side chambers.
	Ariel turned towards the sounds direction. "this 
is my home", she retorted.
	Calim entered the room. "Really, I thought you 
had given up all this, to go and live with that human 
prince of yours?"
	Ariel was a little taken aback, not many apart 
from close family and friends had been told. Calim 
smiled at her reaction, "What happened? Did you get 
too homesick? Our did your prince fail to live up to 
your expectations?"
	Ariel disliked his accusations, but had to keep 
the fact that she had a trident from him. "Its none of 
your business", she replied coldly.
	"Ooh but is my dear". He moved closer to Ariel." 
These are things a bride to be should tell her future 
groom". He stroke the back of his hand, down her 
	Ariel pulled back in revulsion."What make's you 
think that I will marry you?!". Calim reached out again 
, but she swatted his hand away. "You threaten to kill 
my husband, and my sisters. And you expect me to 
fall into your arms?! You underestimate me" 
	She made to back away from him, but he 
grabbed her arm and pulled her closer, and spoke in 
such a calm voice, that it disturbed Ariel. "I never 
threaten anyone, if Reef is as efficient as always, I 
am sure that your beloved is quiet dead by now."

	Ariel's heart skipped a beat, and her soul 
drained away. "No", she said. Her voice a soft 
	"And as for your sisters, if your father is not
 forthcoming with the trident, then the first  dies at 
noon tomorrow. I don't expect you to fall in love with 
me, but we will be married, you don't have any other 
	The words fell on deaf ears, Ariel's mind was 
locked on one thought. Eric dead, it couldn't be, it just 
couldn't. She looked Calim straight in the eyes. "You 
really are a monster"
	Calim replied without a hint of humour in his 
voice. "Thank you, I try to please"
	They both turned towards the door as they 
heard two soft thumps, they watched as the door 
swung slowly open.
	"Guards ", shouted Calim. There was no reply. 
	A figure glided into the opening, Calim's eyes 
opened wide.
	"Eric!", shouted Ariel.
	Calim shot his hand up, and immediately 
formed a small glowing orb, but Eric had already 
swung his arm back. Eric let go with all the force he 
had left, and hurled the harpoon at Calim. The orb 
had reached its brightest when the harpoon struck 
him in the side, the orb hammered into the ceiling, 
causing a huge fall of rock. Calim sank to the floor 
holding the shaft of the harpoon, Eric swam forward 
and took the dazed Ariel's hand.
	"Eric your still alive!"
	"Yes, and I intend to stay that way, lets get out 
of here". They swam from the room, Eric went to go 
one way, but Ariel hauled him back.
	"I have an Idea, this way" and she swam down 
the corridor. Eric and founder followed.
	Calim watched as they left the chamber, 
winching in pain, he channelled all his emotions and 
strength into the harpoon that had skewered his side
, the harpoon shone in a burst of light, and then was 
gone. He placed his hand over the entrance wound 
and looked towards the door. "Good I like a 
	Eric slammed the doors, and stared into the 
darkness, moonlight permeated weakly through the 
high windows. Whether above or below the sea, he 
could still recognise a stable.
	Areil flung her arms around him and started to 
kiss him passionately. " I though you were dead".
	Eric decided not to tell her how close he had 
nearly come. "Well I am not, thanks to this little fellow 
here". He patted Flounder on the head. 
	Ariel gave Flounder a hug."I always said you 
were the best". Flounder  blushed. Ariel was 
distracted by a rattle from one of the stalls, she swam 
over, and gave a cry of joy as she recognised its 
source."Stormy!" She stroked the seashores main, 
and giggled as stormy nuzzled her neck. "Why are 
you here?" Stormy lent over to the next stall and 
stroked a red heavily pregnant mares back. "Oh I 
see". She turned to Flounder and Eric. "Flounder you 
take Eric and get a saddle, Ill get stormy out".
	While they went, Ariel lent forward to untie 
Stormy. "Come on old friend, we need your help". 
Stormy was a little unsettled, and kept looking 
towards the mare, Ariel laughed."Don't worry, she will 
be alright". She stroked Stormy's flank to reassure 
him, Eric Arrived with the saddle.
	Calim swam down the corridor from Reefs 
chamber, Vash and Tayn in tow." I want that merman 
dead! Do you here me! Dead! I don't care how you do 
it, just do it!" Calim stopped and turned towards Vash 
and Tayn, his voice held a hard edge."They must still 
be within the palace grounds, they would have been 
spotted if they had ventured out into the remains of 
the city, double the guard they musn't get away". He 
looked both of them , and lowered his voice. "If she 
gets away, you will have me to face"
	Vash and Tayn stiffened. "Yes sire", they said in 

	Ariel peered out from the shadows, there 
seemed to be a guard everywhere, obviously waiting 
for them.
	Eric spoke in a low voice." We will never get 
past, all of them no matter how fast Storm is", he 
tickled Storm behind one ear. "It only takes one 
harpoon to hit its target".
	Areil rubbed her forehead, and pulled her hand 
down the side of her face and neck, her hand 
brushed against her amulet. She stopped and 
grasped it, there was only one way to see. 
	She handed Storms reins to Eric."Here you sit in 
front, Flounder you sit in his lap". They both got into 
position, Ariel sat behind Eric and placed one arm 
around his waist.
	"Areil, I hope you know what you are doing". 
Commented Eric.
	"So do I. Lets go".
	Storm reared up and bolted from the shadows, 
and out into the wasteland that was Atlantica. Ariel 
held up the amulet, shut her eyes and focused on the 
amulet with all her will.
	Deep within the sapphire stone set into the 
amulet, a glint of light began to grow, slowly at first, 
but gathering speed as it grew. As it reached the 
boundary of the stone the pool of light began to rotate 
and change colour from white to blue. The spinning 
whirlpool of light, expanded beyond the sapphire, 
growing and spinning  rapidly. Becoming five feet 
across before it stopped, the rotation continued, and 
the blue glow began to pulse.
	As soon as they became visible to the guard 
station on the parapets and balconies of the palace, 
the guards began to throw their harpoons, many 
missed their target, as Stormy and his passengers 
speeded across the debris of Atlantica. Ariel gritted 
her teeth as the shield began to drain her strength, 
she could feel the impacts of the harpoons that were 
accurate, as they meet the force shield and fell away, 
each one taking more strength to repel as the last. 
Another hit the shield, Ariel felt the blow through the 
shield like a slap across the inside of her mind.
	She lost the focus on the amulet and the shield 
dissipated into nothing, panting she looked up and 
saw that they were not yet clear, as one last harpoon 
arced towards them, she tried to refocuse on he 
amulet, in an attempt to regenerate the shield, but 
she could not reform it. The harpoon, only seconds 
from hitting them, continued on in its arc. "It only 
takes one", Erics words echoed in her mind, No! 
screamed her thoughts, and she thrust the amulet 
towards the incoming harpoon, channelling the rest of 
her strength into one final burst, a bolt leapt from the 
amulet and struck the harpoon three feet from her, 
halting its forward momentum, and Storms speed left 
it to fall to the sea bed. 
	Eric felt Ariel's grip around his waist slacken, he 
turned to see her unconscious body start to fall from 
the saddle, he reached for her and grasped her arm 
and held her tight as Storm cleared the outskirts of 
the city.

	Calim observed from a balcony, he thumped his 
fists on the railing, and turned to  Vash and Gorm.

	Eric laid Ariels limp body, on the mattress in the 
grotto. He stroked her face,"please be alright", he 
said under his breath.
	Flounder floated above his shoulder. "Is she 
	Eric looked up. "To be honest, I don't know. We 
will have to wait". As the light faded, Eric lifted Ariels 
head and placed it in his lap, and stroked her hair 
until he too fell asleep. Flounder found a spot at the 
end of the bed, as was soon asleep as well.

	He awoke into dim light, feeling movement, he 
looked down to see Areil nuzzling his neck. Areil 
opened and then quickly shut her eyes. "Oww", she 
murmured ,"who let the Whales waltz on my skull?" 
she rubbed both her temples with her index fingers. 
Eric gave a sigh of relief, and patted flounder awake 
with a fin. Areil continued, "the last time I felt this bad, 
was when Sargent Davie's spiked the punch at last 
years harvest festival.
	Eric gave a chuckle as he remembered Ariel 
hanging over the balcony, he hadn't told her that he 
had already spiked it before Davie's got anywhere 
near it.
	 She gave her eyes a rub and floated shakily up 
from the bed, and continued up till she reached the 
ledge were she had left the trident, it was still there. 
She floated back down to Eric and Flounder.
	"Boy am I glad you are alright, I didn't know if 
you had done something permanent to yourself", said 
Eric as she returned to hie level.
	"Me to Ariel", added Flounder, "what 
	Ariel finger the amulet and thought," the amulet 
doesn't have a store of power like the trident, so it 
used my own strength, I guess". She twirled the 
trident in her hand.
	"Well try not to do that too often", said Eric 
shaking his head.
	"Don't worry, I wont be doing that again in any 
great hurry. I am so hungry I could eat a horse". 
There came a loud whinny from the entrance, Ariel 
looked, and saw Stormy giving her a quizzical stare. 
Ariel chewed her bottom lip, "erm, sorry Stormy, a 
human expression". Stormy gave a snort and went 
back to the clump of seaweed he had found.
	Through the fog that hung over her memory of 
the previous day, she caught glimpses. Of Calim, 
"then the first  dies at noon tomorrow", she looked 
around her, it must be at least nine o'clock.
	"We have to go back, now", Areil started to 
make for Stormy.
	"What!", cried Eric and Flounder in unison. Eric 
continued, "we only just got out the last time!"
	Ariel stopped as the fog cleared some more, 
"the answer lies within Eric", her father had said that, 
she looked across the room past Eric's and Flounders 
shocked faces, straight at Eric's statue, that had to be 
it. Without thinking she brought her trident to bear on 
the statue.
	"Areil what are you doing!!" Exclaimed Eric, as 
he grabbed Flounder, and took cover.
	A blot sprang forward and struck the statue, 
Ariel winced at the memories that came flooding back 
as the statue exploded into fragments. As the debris 
cleared a golden glow could be seen, she was right. 
She swam forward, and lifted her fathers trident, 
perhaps all was not lost after all.
	Eric and Flounder popped their heads over the 
boulder they had taken cover behind. Areil tossed 
Tritons trident to Eric as she passed on her way to 
	"And what the hell am I supposed to do with 
this?"asked Eric.
	"Hang on to it, Ill tell you on the way". Areil 
picked up Stormys reins," I told calim not to 
underestimate me, I would not want to disappoint 
	Eric saw an expression on Ariel's face,  he had 
never seen before, and was glad he wasn't going to 
be on the receiving end.

	Vash trembled as he entered Calims chamber,  
he had failed, and deserved punishment. But calim 
could have taught Reef a thing or two, about the 
administration of pain.
	Calim turned from the window, "yes?", as 
always his voice was calm and collected.
	But it still made Vash stiffen, "Sire, its almost 
	Calim rubbed his chin, "Any word from Triton?"
	"None, sire"
	"I didn't think there would be. Very well pick 
one", he gave a shrug, "I don't care which, and bring 
her to the concert hall. Have Gorm fetch Triton". Vash 
bowed and left the room. "So Triton wishes to play it 
to the end, only he doesn't know were the end is". He 
turned back to the window.

	Ariel's sisters were held in the tower dressing 
rooms, Arista had her head buried in Andrina's lap, 
and was crying her heart out. Andrina was doing her 
best to console her. 
	"I am sure they are all right, Urin has a good 
head on his shoulders, and Coral is not as little as you 
keep making her out to be. Andrina stroked her hair.
	Arista's crying reduced to sniffles." but shes just 
a baby"
	Andrina shook her head, "Arista, shes five years 
old. She will be alright, would you rather she had 
been here when they attacked?" Arista shook her 
head, "well then, all we can do is wait, and see"
	Aquata was sat with the others, "How long are 
they going to keep us here? Its been two days 
	"At least we are safe in here, remember that 
awful screaming last night? The pour soul was in 
agony" mention Alana.
	"Yes I heard it ", Aquata visibly shuddered at the 
thought. " At least Ariel isn't here, that at least is one 
	Alana nodded, "yeah, if she was here, she 
would probably do something stupid"
	Andrina looked across, "yes but she always 
managed to get through it somehow. I still haven't 
worked out how, and now shes off with that human of 
	A smile appeared on Alarna's face, "hum, I don't 
blame her, he is a bit of alright".
	"And trust Ariel to find him" Aquata sighed.
	They all looked up as the door was opened, and 
Vash entered the room. He surveyed the room and 
pointed to Arista, "take her". Two guards entered the 
room and grasped Arista my the arms and lead her 
out of the room. 
	Alana rose from her seat, "were are you taking 
her?" Vash just ignored her. Alana was left floating, "I 
don't like the look of this", she said.

	Calim waited as Triton was brought into the 
concert hall, Triton fought against the chains that 
bound him, but the strength of Gorm was to much. 
Calim held forth his hands and formed a small globe, 
he ordered Gorm to release Tritons chains and come 
to his side, he then projected the globe at the chains, 
upon reaching them the chains began to glow gold, 
and the ends sank into the rock floor of the hall. 
	Triton looked around at the guards situated all 
around the edge of the hall, his attention was grabbed 
as he heard the protesting of a voice he recognised. 
A look of dread appeared on his face as Arista was 
brought into the concert hall by Vash, and left floating 
in the centre, as Vash also went to his masters side
	Arista scanned the room and located her 
farther, she made to move towards him, "daddy!"
	"Stay where you are!". Boomed Calims voice, 
and a bolt sprang from his hand and struck the floor 
underneath Arista. Eight shinning columns sprouted 
from the floor enclosing her.
	"Daddy, what's going on?!" Came Arista's 
shocked reply.
	"So", said Calim as he circled Triton, "which is it 
to be?"
	Triton looked at the fear and confusion in 
Arista's eyes, he looked down and sighed, "may the 
world forgive me", he looked up at Calim.
	Glass shattered from the back of the hall, and a 
blue streak of light struck the cage that enclosed 
Arista. Ariel swam in, and shouted to Arista, "get out 
	Arista looked dumbfounded, "Ariel? but how?"
	"Guards", came order. But as the gauds went to 
move, a golden bolt struck each and every one. Eric 
floated down onto the stage end of the hall, Flounder 
joined him.
	Areil , hauled Arista out of the way and pointed 
to the way out, "up there", Arista swam from the hall.
	Calim looked at Ariel, and smiled. "Perhaps you 
were right,   maybe I did underestimate you. But no 
matter, once I destroy you both I will have two 
tridents, and the world will be at my mercy. What little 
I have", he gave a little chuckle.
	Ariel saw red, "Eric now!" simultaneously both 
she and Eric let loose with there tridents. Calim held 
his arms wide , and a whirlpool of light enclosed him 
Vash and Gorm. The blue and gold streams of energy 
hit the whirlpool.
	From inside Calim laughed at their efforts, "you 
really think I can be defeated?!", he extended his 
arms and two other streams erupted from the 
whirlpool and made there way slowly back up the 
streams of Ariel and Eric. 
	"Areil!" Called Triton, " you have to be untied to 
beat them!" Ariel understood his meaning, she slowly 
began to circle around the hall towards Eric. Eric on 
he movement began to move toward her, all the time 
the streams of energy from the whirlpool made there 
way towards them.
	As they meet, Ariel reached for his hand. As 
they touched both of the streams twisted together. 
The spiralling blue and gold streams forced their way 
back to the whirlpool. Ariel looked at Calim's face and 
saw something she had never seen before, fear.
	Triton, trying to shield himself from the raw 
energy, called again, " Channel your strength! 
Channel your emotions! Its the only way!" Areil and 
Eric looked into each others eyes, and knew which 
emotion was the strongest.
	Flounder watched as the blue and gold streams 
entered the whirlpool, causing it to become brighter 
and brighter, eventually he had to look away as it 
became to intense, he heard the screams, and looked 
back into the seemingly dim and silent hall. He 
noticed movement from the corner of hie eye.
	 In the black darkness of Urchins mind came the 
wave of consciousness, he raised his head and 
looked around him, the light was almost to intense, 
but he saw a mass of red hair, amidst the confusion. 
he felt the weight of a harpoon in his hand and the 
memories of the previous days sprang to mind, he 
saw movement above Ariel, inside king Tritons 
balcony, Tayn, he recognised the face as it was 
illuminated by the mass of energy being used bellow, 
he saw Tayn raise his hands and form a sphere of 
gold, and saw his gaze fall on Ariel. 
	The light faded, and Urchin raised himself from 
the floor, and speeded to Ariel, he reached her just as 
Tayn released his bolt, Urchin hurled his harpoon, but 
caught the bolt full force. By the time Tayn saw the 
harpoon it was to late, it embedded its self in his skull, 
and Tayn sank to the floor of the balcony.
	Areil blinked as the light faded, she heard the 
sound of movement behind her and turned just as 
Urchin was struck. It seemed to happen in slow 
motion, as urchin floated to the floor, she caught him 
and laid him down. " Urchin, Urchin speak to me."
	Urchin opened his eyes and smiled. "it makes a 
change from you getting me out of trouble", his smile 
turned into a grimace of pain.
	Eric went over and released Triton, Ariel 
grasped her trident and placed her hand on Urchin. 
"don't worry it will be alright", she concentrated, and 
her trident glowed.
	Urchin continued to speak. " I came back for 
you, I went of to seek a fortune to make me worthy of 
you, but when I come back your not even in the 
ocean any more". The pain seemed to spread across 
his face.
	"But we were friends", said Ariel. As she tried to 
heal him.
	"Yeah I know, I was the kid brother you never 
had. But it wasn't enough", he started to cough and a 
small cloud of blood hung around his head.
	Triton arrived and assessed the situation, Areil 
looked up at him, "its not working".
	Triton placed his hand on her shoulder, 
"Sometimes magics is not enough", and he left her 
alone. He saw Eric start to come over and stopped 
him, "leave them, she will need you soon enough"
	Ariel looked at her trident with disgust and threw 
it away, she  lifted Urchins head and placed it on her 
lap, and tried to wipe away the tears. 
	Urchin gave a laugh, but ended up in coughing 
more blood. "Isn't this just my ........". He never 
finished the sentence. Areil cradled his head in her 
arms and slowly rocked back and forth.

	Eric looked out from the balcony, at the 
rebuilding of Atlantica, he would love to stay and 
explore this world. But now was not the time, they had 
to return in order to apprehend the pirates that were 
marooned on the island. He heard as Ariel came out 
on to the balcony, he took her hand and pulled her 
towards him and placed his arms around her waist.
	"You have a lovely home here", he said.
	Areil thought, and then looked up into Erics 
eyes. "This isn't my home. My home is a sleepy little 
kingdom by the sea".
	"Really? And what is it about this kingdom that 
makes it home?" Said Eric smiling.
	Areil placed her hand on his face. "Oh I don't 
know, but it does have its finer points" Areil pulled him
 into a long and loving kiss.

More to come

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