Part 1 and 2 of the Alaskanta Mermaid Saga can be found in my blog feed.
The three mermaids had followed the current for an entire night and had met no dangers so far, knowing that one of the citizens of Alaskanta had become another victim of the monster. The sun was rising, when on each side of their underwater path, two walls of ice started to rise higher and higher, the further they swam, until the ice on each side had reached the surface. The mermaids were now swimming on a one-way path with nowhere else to turn but back, but back was not an option. The currents became stronger with every stroke of their tales. They knew danger was ahead. In the distance they could see more streams coming together, water rushing and twirling. Right in front of them was a giant whirlpool, ready to suck them in and spit them out, broken and destroyed.
‘We cannot swim past it. There are only walls of ice.’ Amara said and looked from side to side. There was only ice and the consuming whirlpool stretching out like watery fingers ready to grasp the fins of the mermaids and devour them.
‘But this is the only way.’ Galeya said and started thinking.
Amara began to chant. It was an ancient and powerful spell to calm down the waters but nothing happened.
‘I don’t think magic will work here.’ Galeya said. ‘This is an ancient force of the North. It is a creation of nature.’
‘And we are nature’s children.’ Vitoria said and stared into the whirlpool.
‘Do you have any ideas?’ Amara asked. ‘The one thing I could do is destroy the walls of ice with magic. But it would probably take up all my life force. But then the two of you could swim past the whirlpool and continue the journey.’
‘No.’ Galeya said decisively. ‘I think there is another way.’
The two looked at her and Galeya looked with her starlight eyes at Vitoria.
‘You must take the lead. You are the strongest swimmer. You will lead us through the whirlpool.
‘Are you crazy?’ Amara exclaimed. ‘We will all die!’
‘You have seen her swim, haven’t you? Her fin is as strong as a whale’s fin. She can lead us through the whirlpool.’
Amara thought about Galeya’s words for a moment. Vitoria looked with her turquoise eyes determined into the whirlpool, as if it was a battle, she could take on.
‘I will lead the way.’ She said.
Galeya nodded and Amara agreed.
‘But I will bind our hands with magic.’ Amara plucked two long seagrass leaves from the bottom of the ocean and let magic flow through them.
For a moment they glowed white, then Vitoria took Galeya by the hand and Galeya took Amara’s hand, who held her dagger and the ice spear in one hand now. The magic sea grass wrapped itself around their arms and hands. The three mermaids were now bound to each other.
Vitoria held out her purple sword towards the monstrous whirlpool, ready to slice through it, and with one flap of her turquoise fin, the three warriors entered this hurricane of water. The pressure was overwhelming. The current was so strong, they were unable to breathe through their gills. The water just pressed them shut. Vitoria tried to swim on to the other side, but she was too slow. Amara and Galeya tried to support her by moving their fins too, but the current was all powerful. Vitoria’s arm in which she held her sword grew heavier and heavier. She could hardly see, there were only bubbles in front of her. But she could sense that they had made it a third through the whirlpool. Now its force grew ever stronger and Vitoria realised that she could not go on for very much longer.
She has led Amara and Galeya into their deaths and she had doomed her beloved kingdom. She had to try harder! She flapped her fin again, her muscles ached but she could feel how Galeya held tight on to her and how both mermaids tried hard to support Vitoria. It was almost unbearable to hold her purple sword in front of her. It took too much energy out of her. It dawned on her what she had to do. She let go of her sword and within the blink of an eye it disappeared within the fumes of the stream. Now, she plunged her arm forward and flapped her fin with all her might. She pressed on and could see the other side of the whirlpool. One more stroke and Vitoria threw herself with all her might out of the whirlpool and saved her companions with her. They breathed in cold salt water through their gills, and exhausted, they glided to the sandy floor. The sea grass leaves let go of their arms. Amara’s spell had done its deed, the spell faded.
‘Where is your sword?’ Galeya gasped.
‘I had to let it go. It became too heavy. It is now lost within the chaos of the whirlpool.’ Vitoria said exhausted.
‘I am sorry.’ Amara said and knew how important a warrior’s weapon was.
‘It’s okay. It is just a sword. All of this is more important. If we make it out alive and save the kingdom, I can forge a new one. If we don’t make it, I would not need a sword anyway.’
‘I understand.’ Amara said. ‘And now look at you! You did it! I have never seen such strength!’
‘Thank you. But without your spell and without your support in the stream I would not have made it.’
The three mermaids smiled at each other and found some nutritious seagrass growing next to them which they ate quickly. There wasn’t much there but they shared it equally and some of their strength was renewed. They were still hungry, but they had to press on, they had to find the sword of ice.
Galeya, Amara and Vitoria continued on their journey and the water grew ever colder. They knew they were getting closer. The walls of ice around them narrowed and they feared that this path might be a dead end. They swam on and on, saw the sun’s light glittering blood orange into the sea. The sun was setting.
Finally, they reached a wall of ice in front of them with a dark cave, a tunnel ahead. Blackness reached for the three mermaids and even they, Northern mermaids, began to shiver from the coldness, coming from this cave.
‘There is no other way.’ Galeya said and looked around.
‘No.’ Vitoria whispered and feared to find death within this cave. ‘But going back is not an option. We knew that from the beginning.’
‘I will lead the way through the darkness.’ Amara said determined.
Galeya and Vitoria looked at her.
‘Vitoria, you lost your sword and Galeya you are not the best fighter of the three of us. If something attacks us in there, I will be able to fend it off with magic. I think, Galeya, you should hand your spear to Vitoria. She is the best fighter of us all. We have a better chance if Vitoria defends us if my magic fails.’
Galeya looked at her spear thoughtfully and handed it to Vitoria.
‘She is right. This is why I chose this weapon in the first place. When we are young mermaids the first weapon, we train with is the spear. We all know how to use it, how to use it best. And Vitoria is the best fighter among us.’
She handed her turquoise- scaled friend the weapon.
‘That was very wise of you.’ Amara said.
Then she looked into the cave, the tunnel, ready to strike at any moment. But there was nothing there but deadly silence. There were no seagrass leaves to bind their hands together this time, so they would not get lost in the darkness alone. Amara raised her magical dagger high above her and let it glow purple, green and yellow, the colours of the Northern Lights. The royal light would guide them through the unknown. Together they swam into the void.
For a long time, they did not speak. The light, pulsating like a heartbeat, only showed the icy walls of the tunnel that glittered in the dark for a moment and then passed behind them into shadow again. The mermaids swam on within the silence. Nothing was there but coldness growing stronger.
After a while, the tunnel became bigger. They could not see the walls anymore but only the icy ground below them. Suddenly Amara stopped.
‘What is it?’ Galeya asked anxiously, her voice echoing through the tunnel.
‘There are rocks of ice.’ Amara whispered carefully not to wake up the darkness.
There was despair in her voice. She wished they had encountered something, anything, but this was just the end of the tunnel.
‘There is no other way.’ Amara said when they swam along the wall of rocks with no other way but back. But back was not an option.
‘I feared this might happen.’ Amara said. ‘The legend of the ice sword is ancient. So the path to get there might simply be blocked by the ongoing process of time.’
‘There must be a way.’ Vitoria said determined. ‘You have guided us through this blackness Amara. This cannot be in vain.’
But the mermaids did not know what to do next and within this utter darkness it was easy to despair.
Galeya began touching the rocks one by one, as if she tried to feel something.
‘What are you doing?’ Amara asked.
‘Try it. You will feel it.’ Galeya said. ‘There are cracks within the icy rocks. Cold water flows through them. The path continues behind these ice blocks. We only have to find a way through.’
Vitoria and Amara began touching the rocks as well. They could feel it too. Like a whisper of hope there was the current they had followed since they had left the palace. The path continued behind the rocks of ice.
‘We will need a lot of magic to break through.’ Galeya said and looked at Amara.
‘Do you think you will be strong enough?’ Vitoria asked.
Amara looked at her dagger, radiating the heavenly light of the Northern Lights.
‘I think I have an idea.’
Amara held up her dagger so its light would shine above the mermaids. For a moment it glowed as it has before but then Amara began to sing. It was a melody dedicated to the Northern Lights. She sang about their beauty in the night sky. How mysterious they looked, dangerous like the deep sea, yet, clear and bright like nothing else. The colours shone brighter and brighter until the tunnel was filled with dancing lights of yellow, purple, green and magenta. The darkness was gone. They all gazed through the tunnel, it looked like a hall, bigger than any of the royal palace, a natural hall, formed by centuries of streams and currents flowing through. The water had carved spirals and lines into the ice, beautiful forms of nature, carvings created by the streams of the ocean.
Amara swam forward, the dagger in front of her. For a moment, Vitoria and Galeya feared she would bump against the blocks of ice but when the tip of the dagger touched the first ice block it melted away and disappeared within the water. Slowly, Amara swam forward, the dagger and the light carving its way through. Ice block by ice rock faded in the illuminated hall and gave way to light dancing all around the mermaids. The colours appeared like lovers, embracing and touching each other, the icy hall their palace. The royals danced and kissed one another over and over again. Finally, all the rocks were gone, and Amara ended her song and lowered her dagger. The colours ebbed away. The shadows of darkness took their place until only a weak purple light was left on the tip of the dagger. Amara sank towards the icy ground, Vitoria and Galeya caught her.
‘You did it! I can feel the current of the North flowing strong again!’ Galeya said and pointed ahead into the ongoing darkness of the tunnel.
Amara smiled faintly and said: ‘This was a lot of magic. I am very hungry now.’
Galeya and Vitoria looked at each other with concern. There was no food around anywhere. The only way was forward. There was no turning back.
‘We might find some food at the end of the tunnel.’ Vitoria said hopefully.
‘Do you think you can continue?’
‘I have to.’ Amara answered.
‘We will help you.’
Vitoria and Galeya both put an arm around Amara’s hip and together they rose from the frozen ground. They swam on within the darkness, the dagger’s purple light fading with every stroke of their fins.
To be continued…