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When day turned to night, Oracana had gathered a handful of mermaid warriors who still had courage inside their inner oceans. They were the best swimmers too. They had to be, for Oracana would summon a storm the underwater world had never seen before. She told her family and all other mermaids and animals of the sea to hide. She would turn the blue waters themselves into a death trap.  

The sun set on the horizon and they came, the hungry creatures of the deep. But Oracana saw them moving in the shadows. Her eyes were like a grey storm itself and she commenced commanding the waters around her. Waves began to rise and fall. Foam splashed on the surface. The currents grew stronger and the children of the abyss were unable to reach Oracana and the other warriors.

Her grey eyes gleamed with triumph, and her turquoise hair flashed in the ever-darkening waters like a beacon of hope. She swished her golden, purple, and green scaled fin, powerful movements that rippled through the water, summoning more currents. They swirled around the monsters who tried to swim against them. Oracana believed to win. She believed to have the upper hand when she saw them continue swimming against the strongest currents she could muster. They had strong tails, black as the night, and the darker it became, the more powerful, they appeared. They opened their jaws, screaming hungry, feeling that the fruitful flesh of the mermaids was nigh.

Hunger driven, they continued their fight against the waves. Oracana crushed one wave after the other upon them, but they slithered left and right, up and down. They were masters of the cold and strong currents of the deep sea. Oracana began to despair. They were gaining on her. An especially muscular child of the deep reached out for Oracana and scratched her cheek. Drops of blood poured forth and mingled with the foaming waters around her.

The little blood was enough to invigorate the madness within the children of the deep. They plunged forward. Three at once held on to Oracana. She screamed. Like thunder her voice rolled through the water. Her warriors did not fare better. One by one was dragged down into the depths of the sea, leaving the still fuming currents of Oracana behind them. The powerful mermaid tried to fight them. But four, then five, then ten held on to her, carrying her down. She screamed, roars of her thundering voice rippled through the water, reaching her mother, her sisters, and the other mermaids. They knew that her ocean magic had failed her.

Oracana’s waves broke upon empty waters. Her currents ceased and the ocean grew quiet.

By morning, the scent of blood was the last remnant that lingered in the blue waters where Oracana’s waves had been summoned. Diawelina and her sisters wept for another sister lost. The children of the abyss seemed unstoppable. They had powerful fins to master the currents of the deep sea. The magic of the mermaids was fading.

Lenesenya believed to have a solution to their deadly problem. She understood that the cold light of the moon and the currents of the ocean could not harm the children of the abyss. But she knew that her starlight was an altogether different power. They were potent forces, illuminating the night sky in all their colours. She believed her magic could stop the hungry monsters.

So, when night came, Lenesenya was ready. She called upon the sparkling lights in the night sky, the flaming stars in the heavens. In all their colours, shimmering silver, glittering gold, sapphire blue, and ruby red, they descended and circled the mermaid. Her silver- white hair and her purple fin radiated with power. She was ready. She saw the creatures of the deep rising from the black waters. Shadows moving within shadows, they began to circle her, cautious of the starlight they sensed swirling in the water.

One of them approached the starlight mermaid, tried to reach her, tried to move past the starlight. The creature backed away when it felt a tickle running through its long arm. The starlight was strange but had not harmed the creature.

Lenesenya became worried and her arms moving, she made the starlight attack the predators, but the heavenly lights did not harm them. One by one faded into blackness, as if a starlight night sky was covered in black clouds. The children of the abyss swarmed like storm clouds around Lenesenya. She summoned more starlight, but the black bodies consumed them. There were not enough.

One of the creatures bit into her fin and blood spilled forth, sparking the hunger and lust of the children of the abyss. The last thing Lenesenya saw were the creatures closing in on her. The last thing she felt was the bitter pain of her limbs being torn apart by the children. Her starlight magic left her and Lenesenya was devoured by the night.

When the children of the abyss were done with Lenesenya, they looked for other mermaids and found them hiding in caves of coral reefs. Once again, they feasted on the flesh of the mermaids.

Almost all the mermaids were gone. Diawelina and her youngest daughter, Sarahenyra, were among the last ones left. Diawelina pleaded with her daughter to leave the cursed waters and swim far away. Her last daughter had other plans though.

She has never been as powerful as her older sisters. She has never wielded the might of the moon. She has never controlled the ocean currents and she has never learned how to summon starlight from the heavens. But she had listened to the rays of the sun whenever she had been sitting by the beach in the shallow waters. On this day, after losing her coral parent and three beloved sisters, she listened even more intently to the sun’s rays shining upon a dying ocean. Her eyes, glowing like amber, stared directly into the sun and she began to hum a melody, one of fire and vengeance. Her purple hair began to crackle with heat and her golden scales began to glow like the sun herself.

Sarahenyra’s song grew louder, and she knew that the sun was listening. She had always feared that the sun’s magic was too powerful, too destructive. But whenever she sat on the beach, she could not help but wonder that the sun’s light might be the mightiest of them all.

The young mermaid left the beach and swam out into deeper waters, where she knew the children of the abyss would rise tonight again. Her mother called for her, but she did not listen. She could only hear the gleaming sunlight calling for her.

When the red sun kissed the sea on the horizon, she ended her melody, surfaced, and began to sing a song of the sun herself. She looked at the flaming orb like a lover and voiced the celestial beauty of her fire, telling the sun about the misery and despair of the mermaids. Her melody was about every tear she had wept. Every single one of them that disappeared in the vastness of the ocean. Her melody was about every drop of blood that had been spilled in the nights of horror.

She sang about her lost coral parent and all the corals that had faded grey. She sang about her sisters who defended their home until the last swish of their fins. In her inner ocean, she saw all the colours leaving and her sisters and friends being devoured by blackness. It was a song of sadness, but it was also filled with one last spark of love and fire.

She ended her song when the sun had almost disappeared. Glittering waves appeared on the horizon and streamed like a golden river on the waves towards the brave mermaid. When the sun’s magic touched the mermaid’s fin, Sarahenyra could feel power rise within her. Her fin gleamed like the sun herself. She knew that the sun had answered her call.

She dived down into the coming darkness. Her mother and her remaining friends hid among the quiet coral reefs, appearing like skeletons in the dark. The children of the abyss were not far away. Sarahenyra could already hear them, their claws snatching through the water, sniffing through the sea, always hungry.

Diawelina called for her daughter, to come back to her and hide! They are coming!

But the young mermaid was not afraid. She waited until the monsters were all beneath her, and then she raised her arms. The creatures sensed her presence, raced towards her, licking their sharp teeth over their lipless holes.

When the first one reached Sarahenyra, a golden spark erupted from her hand. The moment it touched the child of darkness, its black skin began to blister and it screamed out in agony, a horrific screech, sounding like death itself.

The creature twisted and turned, suffering unimaginable pain. It pleaded to the mermaid to make it stop, make it end. For the first time, the mermaid understood the language of the creature because, since their arrival, she had come to learn the language of pain.

But she chose not to listen to the pleading screams, for the true magic of the sun was within her. There could be no mercy for the hunger of these monsters. Another spark of gold erupted from her hand and touched the creature. This second spark was final and ended the monster’s misery. Lifeless, it sank back into the darkness below. The other children sensed the death of their family member and fear drove them back into the deep.

Sarahenyra was not done yet. She followed the enemies of the mermaids into the blackness. Her mother and friends looked after her and decided to follow her. They did not dare swim further where the cliffs began and shadows flamed up from the deep. Only Sarahenyra was not frightened. The sun was with her. She descended and the children of the abyss sensed her and turned around.

Who dared enter their realm? A foolish mermaid filled with colour and light. They would rip her apart and taste her colours. The hungry monsters began to circle the mermaid in the blackness, ready to strike. But so was she. Her inner ocean was filled with sunlight, pure golden white gleaming power. She commenced singing. She sang the song of the sun herself. When the melody reached the ears of the monsters, they began to turn and twist in pain. The song burned into their hole-shaped ears. From there, the magic of the sun began to eat its way through their bodies, just as hungry as the children of the abyss had been. They erupted into fireballs, exploding inside out.

Moments before, they had circled the mermaid like sharks their prey, now as fireballs, they orbited the mermaid, glowing golden in the dark. She was the centre of the universe and her magic burned them all. The flames licked at them slowly, causing them searing pain. The fires in the deep waters were alight all night, until the sun rose once more, and by dawn, not a single child of the abyss was left alive.

They were slaughtered by the sun’s absolute magic, for hungry darkness must always bow to the thriving light. When the mermaid saw her melody fulfilled, she rose towards the surface and felt the magic of the sun leaving her inner ocean except for one spark that now belonged to her.

With this spark, she taught her mother and her friends about the wisdom of the sun, and they too felt the fire brighten up their inner oceans. A flame that would always protect them when the night turned to horror.

With the sun’s light inside of them, they began to sing a new melody of healing and rebuilding. The corals that had survived their sleep were woken by the sweet tunes of their old companions. Yet, as the mermaids were changed forever by the darkness of the deep and by the light of the sun, so were the corals. With the new light inside of the mermaids, their language had changed too. They realised they were unable to understand all the words the corals whispered through the currents. Where there was once clarity and harmony, there is now change, and at times, misunderstanding. Some corals had even forgotten the language of the mermaids altogether and hardly spoke to them anymore.

One of those corals was Rachey, Sarahenyra’s parent and Diawelina’s ocean lover. They no longer understood each other. They were no longer able to converse with each other, and the great ocean magic that had existed between Diawelina and Rachey was no more than a sweet memory.

Rachey and the other corals still understood the beauty of the mermaids’ voices, but they did not understand all their words and sentences any longer. They recognised their magic as their tunes were filled with the warmth of the sun. This was magic the corals would always remember.

And the mermaids were unable to fully grasp the wise words and meanings of the corals’ voices, carried towards them through the currents of the ocean. They were now nothing more than fragments the mermaids had to piece together. And even then, they did not understand everything.

So, the ancient days came to an end and the age of harmony between corals and mermaids ended. They rediscovered how to protect and thrive among one another. They learned to sing songs to each other again. Sometimes they were in tune, but often they were not. Their voices would never be one again. Their once deep connecting magic was lost after the shadows of the deep broke them. For some wounds go too deep to ever heal completely.

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