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Long before strange walkers ruled the lands above, long before the merfolk built the most beautiful kingdoms under the sea, and even long before the dragons roamed the skies, mermaids lived in crystal-clear blue waters.

In these times, mermaids did not know kings and queens who governed them. All of them were free. They were friends with the stars in the night sky and the moon, the silver orb, earth’s little sister and close companion. They were friends with the sun, the heavenly fire lending life to all, and they were friends with the ocean currents, mermaids feeling their powerful energies within their scales.

The ancient mermaids wielded knowledge of all celestial lights, holding wisdom that is now lost and long forgotten. They passed on their knowledge in songs, from grandmother to mother to son, from father to daughter.

The ancients were able to speak to corals. They understood their words of magic like no one else. Mermaids and corals conversed like mermaids talked to any of their friends in the sea. When the currents of the water passed by and touched the corals, they began to whisper through the water until their enchanting tunes grew louder and they shared their wisdom with the mermaids. All the mermaids had to do was listen to the currents of the ocean. Within them were the words of corals, their voices as clear as any other sea creature’s voice.

The corals did not only share their wisdom but talked to mermaids about many things. And singing, the mermaids answered them. They told them about everything under the sea, that the corals might not know about. The mermaids told them about the great blue waters, the wide oceans where corals did not grow. They listened to each other as if they were kin. Whether the sun glittered into the sea or the moon illuminated the dark waters, they shared their knowledge with each other.

In the distant past, mermaids and corals were one in the ocean. Together, they listened to the songs of the stars. Together they lived by the cycles of the moon. They grew strong from the rays of the sun, and they shared the sea together as if they were one species.

Some mermaids and corals even fell in love, and their love was most sacred. When a coral and a mermaid entered such a union, their spirits, their inner oceans, the hearts of the mermaids, and the souls of the corals became one. It was a time of harmony for mermaids and corals. Thanks to their union, they grew stronger than any other animal of the blue. The corals shared their life force, their ancient powers, and strong magic with the mermaids. In turn, the mermaids shared their life force, their inner oceans, their strong hearts, with them. They were the children of the ocean.

From one such union, four mermaid daughters were born. Their parent was a coral with long branches, stretching out towards the sun, glimmering in green, gold, and purple, called Rachey. Their other parent was a mermaid called Diawelina with light brown skin, shimmering like the setting sun, golden-silver hair, a fin as blue as the ocean and eyes as deep as the sea.

The first mermaid created from this union of love and harmony was Moravenya. Her skin was as white as the foam on the waves. Her hair was as black as the deepest sea, and her eyes and her fin were as blue as the ocean glittering under the sun. From an early age, she was enchanted by the moon. At night she often left her parents’ palace, built of stones and shells, swam to the surface and sang melodies to the silver orb above.

When she grew older, she noticed talents unlike any other mermaid. She wielded magic shimmering silver and white. Currents floated and swirled around her, obeying her every command.

Her mermaid mother, Diawelina, talked with Rachey about their daughter’s strange powers. Rachey spoke to her through the currents and solved their daughter’s riddle. The moon herself had gifted their daughter with powers of the moon for her to wield and command. She should practice every day and enrich the underwater world with the shimmering magic of the moon.

After a while, another daughter was given to Diawelina and Rachey for their sacred union. They named her Oracana, with eyes as grey as the storm clouds, her fin glimmering green, golden and purple as her parent Rachey glittered under the sea, touched by the sun’s rays. Her hair was turquoise and her skin the colour of her mermaid mother, glowing like the setting sun.

Oracana loved nothing more than swimming in the crystal-clear blue waters of the sea. She thrived among the giant waves around her while most mermaids hid in their palaces of stone or swam into deeper waters to escape the waves caused by the winds of the heaven whenever a storm rose. She loved the sound of thunder and lightning striking from above.

Once again, Diawelina pondered the strange abilities of her daughter. She had outstanding swimming abilities, not unusual for a mermaid, but even the best swimmers among mermaids, who saw Oracana swim, marvelled at her agility and elegant movements.

Diawelina talked to her coral lover again, and Rachey gave her an answer, words as clear as the blue sky on a calm day at sea: Our daughter is a favourite of the ocean herself. The ocean’s waters and waves are her waters, and she may command them if she pleases to.

Once again, the wisdom of a coral had brought clarity to a young mermaid’s strange powers. With the guidance of Oracana’s mother and coral parent, she grew to become a mighty mermaid.

Years later, a third daughter sprung from the union of coral and mermaid. They named her Lenesenya. Her skin was brown and bronze, the fruitful colour of kelp in the sea. Her fin shimmered purple and her eyes gleamed violet. Her hair was silver and white. Her mother wondered if she might have similar abilities, like her oldest daughter. Considering the colour of her hair, she might have a close connection to the moon as well.

Diawelina was not far off, as Lenesenya joined her eldest sister surfacing at night and watched her channel the moon’s powers. But Lenesenya did not admire the moon, as her oldest sister did. She enjoyed watching other celestial lights that sparkled in the darkness. She fell in love with all the stars, large and small, colourful and bright. She began to sing to them, and soon, starlight glittered around the tips of her purple fin and around her fingertips. It was a strange sight, but a beautiful one.

Again, Diawelina sought out the council of her coral lover Rachey. They already had an answer for the mermaid. Lenesenya was able to summon starlight and use their lights as she wished.

Diawelina loved watching her three daughters charm the inhabitants of the sea with their powers. She was so proud and every morning, she would tell Rachey what new wonders her daughters had created.

After some years, Diawelina realised she was pregnant once more. Already, she began to wonder what special powers this fourth child might have. She was certain their powers would be just as enchanting as the ones of her other children.

Diawelina gave birth to a fourth daughter, and named her Sarahenyra. Her skin was dark brown, like the colour of dark rocks protruding from the surface of a coral reef. Her fin was golden, her hair shimmered purple, and her eyes were the colour of glowing amber, the stone that is sometimes found in the sand.

As she grew older, she turned out to be her most beautiful daughter. All of them looked gorgeous, but there was a glow around Sarahenyra no other mermaid ever had. Her mother wondered what celestial lights she might be able to command. But she did not join her sisters in the night, and she did not enjoy swimming through the storms like Oracana did.

Most of the time, she chose to swim to the beach, to the shallowest waters, where beyond the dry sand, great rocks and strange green plants grew. There, between the border of land and ocean, she liked to sit and enjoyed the warmth of the sun. She began to sing songs even more beautiful than her enchanting glow. From far and wide, mermaids were drawn to her by her incomparable voice. Every time she sang it appeared as if the sun herself would make her radiate, make her beauty shine like the sun herself.

Diawelina told Rachey about the gift of their fourth daughter. But Rachey already knew because they could hear their daughter’s beautiful voice even far out at sea. Her voice was her magic, a gift just as enchanting but even more peculiar than the gifts of their other daughters.

So it came to pass, that all the daughters lived in the ocean and enriched the sea with their gifts. Their mother was proud and sometimes all of them, mother and daughters, would dance and sing around Rachey, whose colours were reflected in the shimmering scales of their fins.

Life is about balance, and where there was light and life in the oceans, darkness had a place too. The mermaids and corals were not alone. In the deeper waters roamed the creatures of darkness, the children of the abyss. Their tales were powerful and could swim through any storm. Black and blood red scales covered their long bodies and, as red was the first colour to be consumed by darker waters, they appeared to be half there, half invisible. They were creatures of this world, but a very different one. They lived a shadow existence, here and there, not belonging to any world.

With their long arms and sharp claws, they reached through the inky black waters. They snatched fish or other luckless animals and consumed them with their lipless mouths, tearing them apart with rows of razor-sharp teeth, stretching along their throat, turning their prey into nothing. Because the children of the abyss had no purpose but to consume. Their throats were holes of terror without lips, without a tongue to speak but only to taste. Its only purpose was to take pleasure in tasting flesh and blood.

They did not know what they ate, for they were blind in the canyons below. Their heads were smooth and hairless. Where two seeing eyes should have been, grey flesh stretched over empty eye sockets, seeing nothing. But the slits between their empty eyes and their consuming holes understood the world around them. Their slits, their noses, created a world for them, below and above.

In their black space, they sensed the magic of a higher place. These creatures of the deep lifted their scaly heads, sniffed, sensed another world, and tasted its colours. They could not grasp the beauty of the world of light, for they did not understand what beauty was. They only understood the chance of unending prey above.

With two little holes on the sides of their heads, they could also hear the cheerful echoes of another world. But they did not understand the language. The children of the abyss knew they could not live there in the light among the laughter of the children of the ocean.

After a while, some of them grew jealous of this other life, for their lives were hard and cold. They could smell the colours from above. Like flakes they floated down, spectres of a different world they could never join. The children of the abyss felt mocked because they knew how powerful they were in their dark waters and they were the lords of their black realm.

All of them craved the life above. They felt they were left out. Slowly, they ascended from the depths. Carefully, they moved forward, one by one, waiting in the shadows, just where light could not touch them. When the sun disappeared and shadows filled the space of daylight, all colours turned grey and black, and they knew their time had come.

The children of the abyss broke into the waters of the mermaids and corals. Driven mad by taste and lust, they began to claw at the mermaids and carried them into the deep below. They did not care for the corals as they were immobile, and had no flesh and blood pumping through their bodies. However, the corals sensed the terror of the mermaids, for they were their companions.

In the darkness, the children of the abyss screamed at their captives, wanting to learn their secrets. How did they do it? How did they live in harmony with nature above when the creatures of black could not? How were there so many colours and different tastes in their world? They wondered if it was the sunlight that gave life to both mermaids and corals, the nutritious ocean waters, the glittering blue that made it all possible. After wondering, the children of the abyss realised that this might be the cause, and they became angry. They grew more and more jealous, realising that they were creatures of the dark, unbale to feel the warmth of the sun. Her presence would burn them away.

However, the mermaids could not understand them because the children of the abyss did not speak with their inner oceans. There was only darkness inside of them. The mermaids only heard screams and cackling voices in the black waters of the night.

The captors held the bodies of the mermaids on the cold ocean floor. They pressed down on them, feeling their hot bodies underneath them. The tongues of the black creatures began to lick over the mermaids’ bodies, trying to make sense of them. They touched all over their bright scales and grabbed their luscious hair with their bony claws. They felt their smooth skin, sensing their warm blood beneath. The shadow creatures began to scream at the mermaids, driven mad by jealousy, wanting to taste what they had above.

In their rage and lustfulness, they began to kiss the mermaids with their lipless mouths and their tongues began to taste the colours of the ocean. Now they could not stop. The children were hungry, the children wanted more, the children began to bite into the flesh of their newfound prey. The children tasted colour.

They tore the mermaids limb from limb until they had consumed every last piece of their flesh and breathed in every juicy drop of their mermaid blood. They sensed the heat of the sun in clouds of hot blood. It was a sensation they knew they would never feel on their own skin.

They sucked the mermaids eyes from their sockets, tasting all the colours the mermaids had once seen. When only bones were left, they held on to the white mermaid skulls. With their bony fingers, they stroked over the smooth surface in the dark, realising the skulls of their prey were not unlike their own. They licked the white skulls with their black tongues, like hungry lovers, tasting the fading magic of a life lived in blue waters. They were in ecstasy. They wanted more. It was their only way to be part of the harmony above.

So, when day turned to night, when light turned to darkness, the children of the abyss ascended and devoured mermaids one by one. Within the darkness, within the blood thickening around the mermaids, they began to battle. They fought the creatures of black with everything, with all the coral magic they had. But nothing could stop them. Soon, the corals became terrified of what their mermaid friends had to endure. The corals sensed all their pain and fear and they could do nothing against it. They were exposed to all the horrors that befell their companions. The corals were in shock. They forgot how to speak and to sing. Their colourful spirits fled into the insides of the roots of their fragile bodies, and the mermaids were left alone.

Diawelina lost her ocean lover too. In the end, Rachey only spoke to her in weak whispers, all their strength fading and their once wise words turning into incoherent phrases, speckled with madness.

Diawelina wept tears for her lover, and so did her four daughters for their parent. Their whispers, flowing through the currents, became more and more quiet until they were gone completely. Their colourful branches, glittering in purple, gold, and green, faded into a weak violet, a faint yellow, and a light green that was almost colourless.

The mermaids, wounded and growing smaller in number, knew that their magic was not enough to fight the children of the abyss. They needed more potent magic. Moravenya, the eldest of the four sisters, spoke to all the mermaids of the coral reef. She told them that her moonlight magic was strong. After all, the moon was the sun of the night, driving out darkness when darkness was nigh. Her silver light would destroy the shadows of the deep.

The mermaids readied themselves for battle, their newfound courage inside their inner oceans. When night came, so did the monsters of the deep. They were eager to feast upon the flesh of the mermaids again. Morawenya awaited them with anger in her heart. She raised her white arms. She appeared like a ghost, shimmering like crystals in the waters filled with moonlight. Her blue eyes radiated potent magic, and the children of the abyss rushed forward. Oracana sent forth her moonlight magic, piercing the dark waters with silver currents.

They hit the children of the abyss, and for a moment it seemed they hesitated. They felt the cool touch of the moon’s light upon their skin, a potent magic but a magic of the night, a cold and gentle one they did not fear. With their claws, they brushed Morawenya’s light aside and hurried towards her, to the source of the magic that tried to stop them.

Morawenya readied her spear, fashioned of whale bone and with a sharp blade made of a shell. One of the children snatched the spear out of her hands and snapped it in half before tossing it aside. Morawenya saw her weapon glide into the shadows. She summoned her moonlight one more time. It engulfed her in a layer of protection but to no avail. The children of the abyss were hungry, and they broke through the moonlight magic. They scratched Morawenya’s skin. The moment they tasted her blood, soaked with the silver magic of the moon and the blue colours of the ocean in all its shades, they went mad with lust.

They grabbed her and carried her down into the depths. Her screams echoed far and wide into the night. She screamed for her moon, for her family, but they fought the monsters. There was nothing they could do. When clouds gathered in the sky and covered the moon, all mermaids knew that Morawenya was dead, devoured by the children of the abyss. The moon’s light had been nothing compared to the hunger of the deep. Her pure silver light was cold and no match for the creatures of black.

While Diawelina wept for her eldest daughter, Oracana was filled with rage and wanted revenge. She understood that the moon’s light was too weak to fight the monsters, but she was mistress of the ocean. She would summon currents and waves that would tear the monsters apart, rip them open and destroy their hideous bodies. She would not end the storm until they were all dead. She wanted revenge for the death of her older sister.

To be continued…

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