Part 1,2 and 3 of the epic mermaid tale can be found in my blog feed.
The tunnel became colder and colder and the three mermaids began to freeze. They knew they were running out of time. The purple light was almost gone when far ahead Vitoria could make out a white light at the end of the tunnel.
‘Look! We are nearly there!’ She said shivering and they sped on.
After a while they realised it was an archway, leading on, to somewhere else. It was a gate of pure ice, glittering so brilliant, like freshly fallen snow. They swam through and suddenly, they found themselves in a majestic hall, bigger than all the halls of Alaskanta. It was magical!
But the hall was no ordinary hall built by mermaids. It was a garden filled with beautiful algae, bright green sea plants and colourful corals. They were the biggest ones they had ever seen! Bigger than rocks of ice they protruded from the ground and in spiral and helix forms they grew far above them. Their colours were all shades of blue and some others were green, yellow and purple. How high the hall was the mermaids could not tell. It appeared as if it would go on and on. This hall felt like the beginning of forever.
For a moment they just marvelled at the simple beauty of this palace of nature. There were also some fish swimming around with scales like starlight or glowing like shoals of ice when the mermaids underwater would look up at them from below. They nibbled on sea grass and did not mind the arrival of the strange mermaids.
Amara reached for a sea leave and began eating it hungrily.
‘This is delicious!’ She said amazed and the others joined her.
For a moment they were lost within the wonderful taste of fresh and fruitful sea grass when Vitoria looked up with her turquoise eyes and her gaze wandered across the hall.
‘Sister warriors!’ She said excited when she spotted it. ‘Look!’
She pointed at the centre of the hall and there among dark blue, green, yellow and purple corals, rising like a frozen hurricane up high, was a cobalt blue sword, stuck within the ice, only its hilt visible. They could not believe it! They had found it! Their journey had come to its end.
They were about to swim over when they heard something. Something gigantic from far above, from where a white light was shining down on them, moving towards the three mermaids. It was a sound of ice cracking and breaking, something so huge the entire hall began to rumble.
Amara rose her dagger and Vitoria readied her spear.
‘I don’t think these weapons will do us any good.’ Galeya whispered.
From far above a giant sea serpent moved down like a dark blue spiral. Its head was as big as a whale. On its head were two large horns, midnight blue and starlight caught within. Its snake like body was the largest and longest the mermaids had ever seen. If twenty humpback whales would swim in one line, from head to fin, the sea serpent would still be longer. This monster could not be fought. It spotted the three mermaids with its white eyes, bigger than shields. It moved down a little further. The fish among the corals were not bothered by the creature. It opened its jaws revealing teeth longer than spears and a blood red split tongue. Like a snake’s tongue it moved in and out testing the water’s scents.
‘Three mermaids of the Alaskanta Kingdom. Why have you come?’ The sea serpent asked curiously, its voice rolled like thunder through the hall and echoed high up from where it had come.
Galeya swam forward chose her words carefully and began to tell the tale of what had happened in the Alaskanta Kingdom, why they had come and how hard it had been to find this place.
‘And as it was the starlight who has given us this knowledge’ Galeya concluded ‘it should be our natural right to take the sword with us.’
The sea serpent eyed the three mermaids with its ghostly white eyes, appearing blind, yet it saw more than anyone else. The sea serpent could see right through them, their courage, their wisdom, their skill and their friendship. The blue giant believed Galeya’s story.
‘Thank you for your honest words.’ It said kindly, yet its voice thundered through the hall again. ‘However, I have a story for you as well. I am the oldest creature in the North Sea and I have seen many things come and go and pass into memory. I was given the task to protect the sword of ice throughout eternity. This task was given to me by the ancient mermaids. I must not give up my task. But the ancient mermaids were wise as well. They knew that the sword might one they had to be moved to a different location for reasons of war or change. So let me tell you.’ And the sea serpent looked at the cobalt blue sword glittering in the ice. ‘Two spells lie upon the sword to protect it. The first is a riddle that must be answered. The second will require your strength to pull the sword from the ice. If you fail either one of them, I must devour you, for only the carrier of the sword is allowed to see and live to tell the tale of the serpent and the sword. Do you want to hear the first task?’
The giant looked at the mermaids awaiting their answer, but they already knew. They had come this far, nature and the North had tested them, they would not give up now. They knew it was everything or nothing. Vitoria, Amara and Galeya looked at each other and agreed silently.
‘We want to hear the first task.’ Galeya said. ‘In the name to save the Alaskanta Kingdom, its people and above all, its nature.’
The sea serpent bowed its head and began to speak: ‘So hear the first task. The riddle of the sea serpent. If you solve it, you can move on to the second task, trying to pull the sword from the ice. If you fail, I have to devour you here and now.’
‘Tell us the riddle.’ Galeya demanded. She wanted to get it over with. If they were eaten, she wanted it to happen sooner rather than later, but she also knew, as Vitoria’s task was the whirlpool, Amara’s the magic in the dark, her task had come now. Knowledge and wisdom were her home. She would be the one to solve the riddle or fail.
The sea serpent moved elegantly, despite its size, around the coral garden and began to talk: ‘I am here, yet, I see all that’s far away. I am the colour green and blue, but I am not a fish. I shine in all the colours of the rainbow, but I have no scales, no feathers, no skin. I protect everything you hold so dear, yet the wind can blow me apart.’
The sea serpent continued to move around its hall, up and down, from side to side, as if it was excited about the mermaids’ visit.
‘How much time do we have?’ Galeya asked.
‘As much time as you need.’ The sea serpent answered. ‘I am immortal. I have time. You are mortal. Time has you. I only know that you should hurry. Kingdoms evolve over thousands of years, however in one night a kingdom can be swallowed by the dark.’
Concerned Galeya looked at Vitoria and Amara.
‘Do you know the answer?’ Amara asked.
‘I think I have an idea.’
‘An idea?’ Vitoria said nervously.
‘May I hear the riddle again?’ Galeya asked.
‘As many times as you wish.’ The sea serpent said and recited the riddle again.
Galeya was thinking. She was going through every possibility there was. It could not be a fish, that was clear. In fact, it could not be anything alive. It was an elemental force but not an obvious one. No, this riddle had too much detail. It was something that existed within the natural world, always there, essential for the ocean but without the riddle, no one would ever really think about it. Galeya thought about reflections on the water. Whenever she would rise to the surface they were there. All the colours. But reflection was not the answer. It did not fit with the rest of the riddle. But she had a feeling it had something to do with the idea of rising to the surface. Something about the surface. Something that was there. So obvious. Something right there. And then Galeya knew. She could see it right in front of her when she imagined rising to the surface of the ocean. She smiled.
‘You know it. Don’t you?’ Vitoria asked, looking at her with hope.
Galeya looked at her two friends and nodded. ‘Yes, I know the answer.’
‘Are you certain?’ Amara asked her.
‘Trust me Amara, as I trust you with your magic.’
Amara nodded and Galeya said: ‘I have the answer to your riddle.’
The sea serpent turned to the mermaids and it appeared as if it would smile, curiosity on its giant face, however, its jaws slightly open, ready to devour the mermaids. But Galeya swam forward, confident within her wisdom and her knowledge. She did not need courage to face the giant creature. She had knowledge and reason on her side.
‘The answer to what is here, yet can see all that is far away, is the colour green and blue but not a fish, shines in all colours of the rainbow but has no scales, no feathers and no skin, protects everything I love but can be blown apart by the wind is the surface of the ocean.’
The sea serpent closed its jaws, bowed its head and said ‘Well done! You have solved the first part. Now comes the second part. The strongest of you may pull the sword from the ice. If you fail, I have to devour you. This is the magic of this place.’
‘You are brilliant!’ Amara said and hugged Galeya. So did Vitoria and the three of them swam to the block of ice that held the cobalt blue sword in its crasp. The sea serpent began to move through its hall again. Its size no obstacle, gracefully it circled around the three mermaids.
‘So who is the strongest of us?’ Vitoria asked.
‘Isn’t it obvious? It’s you! You guided us through the whirlpool!’ Amara said. ‘You are the strongest physically.’
‘But what about your magic.’ Vitoria wondered. ‘Your magic is stronger than anyone else’s. You should try.’
‘How many times are we allowed to try?’ Galeya asked.
‘Each of you may try. But if none of you is able to claim the sword, I have to devour you.’
‘So we can try three times.’ Vitoria said.
‘I think you should go first.’ Amara suggested. ‘I believe it is you.’
Amara looked at Galeya who wondered ‘I agree. But maybe this second task is a riddle too. But try. We can only do that.’
Vitoria grabbed the shiny hilt and pulled as hard as she could. She moved her turquoise fin as strongly as she did while she had to swim through the whirlpool, but the sword did not move.
She let go and said ‘It is not me. Amara, it is you and your magic.’
Amara nodded and grabbed the hilt of the sword. Her arms began to glow purple, filled with magic, she pulled and pulled but the sword did not move an inch. Desperate, she let go and looked at her two companions.
‘Is it you?’ Vitoria asked and looked at Galeya. ‘Are you the strongest of us?’
‘As I said, I think this is a riddle too… One of us…’ Galeya started thinking again and wondered what all of this meant. She thought about their journey, everything they had achieved since and how they had reached this place. The hall of ice and the final task.
Galeya swam towards the block of ice and touched the cobalt blue hilt.
‘I think none of us are strong enough.’
‘What do you mean?’ Vitoria asked confused.
‘It is all of us. We are strongest together as one. We have supported each other throughout this journey together. This is why our Queen has chosen us three and no one else. I only realise her wisdom now. We pull out the sword together.’
Galeya grabbed the hilt and Amara and Vitoria swam to her side and together they pulled, and simply, as if gliding through water, the sword was released from the ice!
This time it was the sea serpent who gazed at them with wonder.
‘You have done it. The sword is yours.’
Joy and relief flooded the three mermaids and hugged each other, the precious sword in their hands. Suddenly, something began to rain from above. It was silver and gold, blue and white. It was starlight. The sea serpent bowed its head, realising the presence of royal magic. The three mermaids bowed their heads as well. Then a voice, the one that had spoken to the Queen, spoke to them now.
‘You have finished your quest just in time. But now there is no time left. The Northern Lights have agreed to carry you on their glowing wings back to the palace. The creature of black is there now. There is no time to lose.’
Although, the three mermaids wished to stay longer, to explore this most magical hall, they looked at each other with fear. After all these magical moments, their greatest test laid still ahead. They still had to save their kingdom, kill the beast and give the sword to the Queen to restore the balance of the Alaskanta kingdom.
‘I wish you farewell warrior mermaids. May the royal lights guide you forever.’ The sea serpent said.
And a moment later, lights glimmering in yellow, green, purple and gold embraced the mermaids. They could sense the rush of magic carrying them through folded space and within seconds they realised they were back in the royal hall of the ice palace.
But there was chaos all around them. Mermaids and mermen swam for their lives, the black creature right behind them, playing with them, toying with their fear. By the throne was the Queen, glowing white with magic, casting spell after spell, trying to break the shadow scales of the monster. No one, neither the black creature nor the Queen had noticed the three mermaids yet.
Then, the monster turned around and faced the Queen. It had made its choice. It would devour the Queen tonight. But the three warrior mermaids were ready and they knew what to do. The black demon sped towards the Queen, opened its jaws, revealing white teeth as sharp as swords. The Queen looked at it with terror but also with determination. She would go down fighting. There was no other way. Black and white focused only on each other, black ready to consume the Queen and end the merpeople realm forever.
But the three mermaids swam as one at the creature, the sword in three hands and the shining blade found its prey. It pierced the monster right through the neck. The black serpent twisted in pain and screaming with terror and fear. It did not want to die! But the mermaids would not stop now. The sword was so sharp, it cut right through bone and flesh, severing the beast’s head and the moment the head broke from its body both parts exploded into a thousand shadows and the creature disappeared into nothingness.
Shocked, the Queen looked at her three warriors and a smile of relief appeared on her face.
‘You have saved us all!’
All around them, the merpeople began to cheer and applaud the three mermaids. But their work was not done yet. Together they swam to their Queen, bowed their heads and held the sword up high. The Queen took the sword from them and her royal magic metamorphosed with the magic of the sword. It was only a slight ripple, a wrinkle within the water but they could all feel it. The magic of the north and their icy halls were restored again.
Cold streams returned to the palace and a new balance was found. With joy the Queen held up the sword and spoke: ‘While our magic and our balance with nature has been renewed and the darkness has been defeated, we must see this journey as an inspiration. Our kingdom might be saved, but what about others? We must see to our friends in the south in the west and to the east. If they are in danger, we must offer them our help. There are other, greater forces at work everywhere around the world. These last weeks have proven that. When one kingdom is safe others might not be.’
And with the Queen’s wise words a new era began in the kingdom of Alaskanta. Amara, Galeya and Vitoria told their tale many times and passed on into legend. They and other brave warriors travelled to all the other places and kingdoms they knew about and offered the help of the Alaskanta Kingdom. For now, they knew that together they were stronger and together they could defeat the darkest of shadows of the night.