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
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
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
" 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
Ariel stopped her massage, "what ? when ?" she asked.
"Tomorrow at midday" Eric answered.
"And you only decided to tell me now !" said
" 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?".
"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.
" 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
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
"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
"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
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?"
" 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
"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
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
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?"
"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
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
" 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
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",
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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".
"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
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
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
"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
"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?"
"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
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
"So", said Calim as he circled Triton, "which is it
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
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
"But we were friends", said Ariel. As she tried to
"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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