I promised y'all a chapter a month and I'm going to try my best to keep my promise. I'm so scattered brained my lists have lists. FYI this is unedited as in the rough, rough draft so don't mind any typos you find. I'm sure there will be a plenty.
Without further ado....
Court's Fool: Chapter One
Sirens weren’t supposed to drown.
Mer clutched at her throat, desperately trying to seal the wound that slashed through her gills. Blood leaked between her finger tips creating a grisly halo of swirling water, debris, and blood.
She choked as warm liquid dripped down the back of her throat. Her stomach cramped and lurched as wounded man crashed through surface of the unruly sea, and began to sink.
A chill swept her as the faint notes of a haunting melody reached her ears. Mer cocked her head and listened intently as the cacophony of the cannon fire and explosions of war raged above.
Ice filled her veins at the clear word.
Her magenta gaze darted to the soldier, struggling his way back to the surface, his movements wild and unchecked, beckoning his death
Guilt pricked her as Mer pressed harder against her injury, and kicked with all her strength toward the surface. The predators of the deep had no interest in the Sirenidae, but with copious amounts of blood, flesh, and prey struggling in the sea, it would be easy for one of them to mistake her for something tasty.
Her legs ached as she fought her way toward the rippling surface. A deep seated panic wrapped itself around her heart and squeezed when the muted, dull tones of death drew closer, and her water logged clothing began to drag her down.
Mer tore at her clothing, shredding the linen shirt from her bare breasts and scratching herself in the process, but she barely felt the sting. Her feet tangled in her pants causing Mer to sink deeper into the ocean's embrace while she wrestled with the infernal garments.
Relief was a short lived victory as she untangled herself from the leather and kicked free, and caught a glimpse of a huge black fin.
Wicked hell. The leviathan. Time to move.
Abandoning her attempt to seal her gills, Mer clawed at the water and hauled ass towards the surface. She had to get out of the water. Now.
Her lungs burned and screamed for air. Motion flickered at the corner of her vision and she locked gazes with the solider just as a shadow formed with oil slicked skin from the inky darkness.
Depths below. Don’t show fear. Calm him before the end.
With the last of her strengthen, Mer smiled at the man and held her hand out, betraying none of the guilt she harbored for not warning the man. Just as he reached a hand toward her, the leviathan struck. She pulled back her arm and slowly moved toward the surface as the predator tore apart his meal. Her gaze never moved from the red haze.
Where there was one beastie, there were always others.
Mer gasped as her head broke through the barrier of one world and entered another. Sea water spewed from her lungs as she coughed and hacked. Tears streamed from her eyes and lightheaded, she tried to make sense of the anarchy lighting up the night sky.
Cannons thundered, metal shrieked, the cries of a thousand men pieces the air.
Disoriented, Mer craned her neck, searching for her ship. Lighting cracked across the sky to highlight the skeletal forms of sinking ships, floating rubbish, and phantom like fins slicing through the watery grave she floated in. The Sirenidae sucked in a rough breath as she spied her ship to the right.
The Dauntless stood proud and erect among the chaos.
She inhaled deeply and sank beneath the waves, fighting the urge to allow the change to overtake her body. With careful, steady strokes she worked her way toward the Dauntless, very aware of the dangers lurking above and below.
Her strengthen lagged as the hull of the ship grew closer, and darkness hovered at the edge of her vision. Mer forced herself forward.
Only a few more paces.
She crashed through waves and into the open air, the frigid wind stabbing at her skin like a thousand needles. It was on the tip of her tongue to call for help, but she caught herself. If by some miracle someone heard it, she would have put a target on them and herself. There was a ladder somewhere close by.
Fatigue settled over her and her eyelids slid to half mast. It would be so easy to fall asleep. She was so damn tire.
'Stop being lazy and move,' her aunts phantom voice whispered in her ear.
"I'm going," Mer muttered to herself as she moved along the side of the shuddering ship and grinned when she spotted the ladder the pirates had left for the Sirenidae. "My thanks, you bloody wretches."
With blood and saltwater slicked hands, Mer attached herself to the ropes and paused.
Now for the hard part.
Between her silvery white hair and unnaturally pale form, she’d become a target the moment she scaled the ship.
Mer inhaled deeply and sprung into action, pushing past the pain, nausea, and fear. Hand over hand, she hauled herself up the rope, her eyes pinned to the railing. Only a few more steps.
One, two, three, four-
Heat seared her naked back and agony sliced through the back of her right thigh.
“Damn it,” she yelled, clinging to the rope as cannons fired on the Dauntless.
Her muscles trembled and bile flooded her mouth. Mer panted and yanked herself a little higher. A high pitched ringing filled her ears before the world imploded. Her body soared through the air and crashed into the midnight waves, knocking the air from her lungs.
Like a stone, her body began to sink. Mer blinked until her eyes adjusted to the sea and she stiffened as a sleek form solidified before her. Stillness settled over soul as she came face to face with a leviathan.
The beast glided closer, rows of dagger like teeth gleaming in the patches of light that penetrated what had become a watery grave. Mer gazed blankly at the monster and hummed a few notes of the kin song in a last ditch attempt to dissuade him from eating her.
He paused and slowed his approach, circling to her left. Mer kicked her good arm and leg and kept him in her vision. If she was going to die, it wasn’t going to be from a sneak attack.
Again, she hummed a few notes of the kin song, something she was taught as a child to help the beats distinguish herself as friend instead of food. Her heart galloped in her chest as he drifted closer and bumped her chest with his pointed snout. Relief filled her and her fear dissipated at the affectionate greeting.
With slow careful movements, she ran her hand along his snout and down his back to his dorsal fin. Mer slung her good leg over his spine and laid her cheek against his rubber hide, her fingers curling gently around his fin. She clicked gently, using the last of her air politely asking for a ride.
A smile touched her lips as the beast glided forward in response. Her eyes turned toward the writhing watercolor surface of the sea as dots crossed her vision and the world blurred around her.
Death wasn’t beautiful, but at least she’d finally know peace from the weighty guilt she’d carried around for far too long.
Court's Fool 2019
Copyright Frost Kay