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Long ago there was a beautiful mermaid kingdom far to the North. It was built within the eternal ice of the cold ocean. Light shone through the ice into the underwater world, and the palaces and halls glittered in snow white, turquoise or deep blue.

The mermaids regulated the currents of the North, making sure the temperature was cold enough for the ice, but at the same time it must be warm enough for all the Northern Sea creatures to thrive. It was an act of balance. And in the North, there were a lot of sea creatures, for the Northern waters were filled with plankton and algae. There lived all sorts of great creatures like belugas, orcas, blue whales and humpback whales. There were all sorts of fish, silver and blue ones feeding with the whales on all the plankton that was there. At the bottom of the sea there lived red and orange starfish among coral forests. Beneath the ice, they glittered in all the colours of the rainbow, and especially in summer, when most of the ice shoals drifted away, the corals revealed themselves in all their splendour. Magenta, turquoise, yellow and green could be seen on a clear and calm day, even by the seagulls flying high above the surface. Closer to the ice, by and on the shores of the land, there lived seals and all kinds of birds who fed on the fish of the icy waters. Beyond the ice, the land was ruled by great white bears.

Everything was in balance as long as the merpeople ruled this cold but thriving kingdom. It was not a calm or warm place to live and the merpeople encountered many struggles doing so, like living through the darkness of the winter and standing strong against the winds and waves of this place.

But since the beginning of time, they had been aided by the celestial lights, the moon, the starlight and the Northern lights. In the darkest of times, some of the stars would lend their cool but brilliant radiance to the merpeople to light up their palaces and homes in the ice. And the moon had always looked kindly upon the merfolk and she had taught them how to master the tides and currents so they could form and transform the world they lived in, to create life and guide all animals within a balanced nature. And even the Northern lights, the most royal light of the night skies would lend their magic to the merpeople. The mermaids and mermen of this icy kingdom learned how to weave this light of the night sky from the heavens, guide it down to their palaces to bring protective light to all their homes. And when the sun would return, the merpeople would send the starlight and the Northern lights back into the heavens.

But not only were the merpeople of the North supported by the lights of the night-time but also had evolved into sea creatures of the North long ago. Their fins were strong to resist the currents of this sea, they were icy blue, yellow, green or purple and sparkled snow white. This glimmer gave them a magical protection from the bitter cold of this place. And their hair colour too had adjusted to this hard life. Their hair was thick and strong, shimmered golden, green, purple or snow white. The magic of the ice and the northern lights was within them, their hair and their scales. This was the merfolk of the Alaskanta Kingdom, the remotest Kingdom of the seas. They were smart and wild but balanced. They were a warrior nation.

The Alaskanta Kingdom was ruled by a wise King and a strong Queen. Together they ruled over merpeople who were warriors, healers, musicians to corals, ice protectors, light weavers and all sorts of things merpeople did to secure the thriving North. There were merpeople who adjusted the currents to regulate the temperature in the sea. They were aided by the whales whose great fins could persuade the currents to move at their will. There were singing merpeople who worked a deep magic to let the corals of the North thrive and the algae and plankton blossom. There were merpeople scholars, their assistants were the kind starfish, who treasured all the knowledge of the North, the sea, the stars and the magic in great halls of ice. And there were merpeople builders, ice weavers, who shaped and reshaped the white halls and palaces of the Alaskanta Kingdom. There was always much to do. It was an eternal cycle which was celebrated twice a year with the setting and the rising of the sun.

But they did not celebrate the sun as they worshipped the lights of the night, for the sun brought heat and only struggle to the culture of the merpeople which was rooted in ice and snow. No, with the rising and the setting of the sun, every half year, they celebrated the appearance of the Northern Lights and the farewell of these lights, the most royal and most precious of all celestial magic. All merpeople, young and old would come together and celebrate. They would invite their best friends the whales to come to their great blue underwater halls inside the ice palaces. Together they would enjoy food and then swim up to the surface to marvel at the green, yellow and purple flickering lights above. And they would grow strong from the magic that rained down upon them. It was a beautiful world.

But every Kingdom had its good years and its bad years, and the Alaskanta Kingdom had the darkest years ahead of it. The merpeople did not know where it came from and even the wise whales had no answer, but the currents of the ocean were changing. They used to be cold and at times warmer but suddenly the currents grew stronger every day and the sun shone down fiercer. The fins of the Northern merpeople were not used to stronger currents and warmer waters and some of them were swept out to the open sea and had to travel a long time to return to their safe kingdom.

The merpeople who sang to the corals and sea plants, the coral musicians, had difficulties finding the right tunes in the changing waters. Some of the corals and plants began to wither away. And the ice protectors struggled the most because ice and snow began to crumble in the underwater palaces and it took them a lot of magic to restore the damage. But the sun’s heat and the ocean current only grew stronger and one night something long forgotten stirred within the eternal ice that should never have been woken.

Deep within the palace of the King and Queen something dark broke from the crumbling ice. Something that should have stayed frozen. It was an ancient sea monster, its body black like a serpent and jaws like a giant shark. Its eyes, glowing red, looked around maliciously, happy that it was finally free again.

Thousands of years ago, the merpeople of the North had battled these dark creatures of the night and imprisoned them within the ice. But now the ice was melting and one of them had broken free. The black monster slithered through the oldest and darkest parts of the ice palace, like a spectre of the past it moved in the shadows. And then it found its way into the lighter rooms where it spotted the King and Queen.

The King, a strong merman with golden hair, pale skin, green eyes and a green fin danced around his Queen. She was the most beautiful mermaid of the North. Her skin was dark brown, her fin and eyes of a deep purple and her hair as white as snow. She laughed and looked at her lover filled with happiness, as he danced around her, trying to cheer her up, after all the struggles they had experienced over the last weeks.

 Filled with rage the black serpent remembered what the ancestors of the Alaskanta Kingdom had done to its kind. The merpeople used to be their prey until they received magical gifts from the celestial lights. Then they struck back and banished the black creatures within the eternal ice. But their magic was crumbling, and the black serpent was hungry. Its chance had come and it attacked!

  For a moment, the King and Queen did not understand who this intruder was, but then terrified, they realised what had happened! The King unleashed a green wave of ocean magic, a tidal wave rippled through the room, but the monster slithered beneath it and attacked the Queen first. But she was ready. She channelled her magic and rays of yellow, green and purple Northern Lights struck the creature in the face. It flinched back but was not so easily defeated. With its muscular tail it struck the walls of the ice palace and ice blocks came crushing down from the ceiling. The King and Queen had to move out of the way, the noise of battle alarmed their warriors, and they came rushing into the hall. The brave warriors attacked the monster with their icy swords and spears but with one stroke of its giant tail the warriors were smashed against the wall.

As fast as lightning the black demon grabbed the King by his fin and dragged him out of the palace. The Queen screamed and her lover lost consciousness in the jaws of the creature. Spell after spell she shot at the wild beast but nothing she did could penetrate the black scales of this ancient enemy. By now all warriors of the kingdom knew what was happening and stormed after the monster, desperately trying to save their King. The Queen stormed after them, but she knew that he was lost. She had read about the black demons of the ancient past and knew about their lethal bite. By now the serpent had reached the entrance of the palace, turned around, looked at the Queen with its red eyes cunningly, her husband, her love, dangling between its jaws. The red eyes locked with the Queen’s purple ones and they knew, this war would not end until one of them was destroyed.

The red eyes formed to slits, as if the creature enjoyed their terrified looks.  Warriors and Queen froze knowing what was about to happen, unable to stop this nightmare. With one bite the monster devoured the King, its first meal in thousands of years and fled down into the deep ocean below where it disappeared within darkness.

The Queen tore at her snow-white hair and screamed and cried in despair. First her merpeople believed she would die of sadness but then her purple eyes filled with rage and wrath, a sight more terrible than the greatest storm in the North. They turned cold like the ice itself and she screamed one word only into the darkness below: ‘Revenge!’

To be continued…

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