jaundicedeyes

Sea of Blood 3

Alain’s story had been interesting till now. But, he had failed to explain anything about his motives, which gave Edwards no reason to trust Alain. He decided to leave Alain as he was, tied to the bed. Edwards removed his flintlock pistol from its position in his belt and placed it on the table, pointing in the direction of Alain. He placed is hand on the flintlock and looked at Alain –

“The story is nice. But, you had better get to the point now, fast.”

Alain glanced at the flintlock. Showing no sign of fear, he continued the story.

‘The teenage prince sunk rapidly, the chains bound to his body speeding up his descent. Mer held his breath. His vision started being invaded by darkness. His shock at being condemned to this fate was soon replaced by fear. His vision went completely black as his lungs finally gave in to the pressure. But instead of suffocating and drowning completely, Mer found it to be more pleasant under water than over it. He had no trouble breathing. His vision fully returned to him. He looked at his body. His elbows had developed prominent scales on them. The same could be said about his feet. He felt his neck. His fingers met with thin slits. Gills, he thought to himself. His body was still loosely bound with chains. His fear had now left him. It had been replaced with anger, a burning wrath against his father. He pushed out with his hands and to his surprise, the chains broke apart. This was a feat he could have never dreamed of performing before whatever it was that had happened to him. Free from his shackles, he scouted the area around him with his eyes. To his surprise, multiple pairs of peering red eyes looked back at him through the thick ocean flora. Slowly, hundreds of people began coming out of their hiding spots surrounding him. He looked around. All of them had red eyes and scales on their elbows and feet, just like him. He spotted features that seemingly matched his stable boy’s features, before he was drowned in the sea. He kept looking around and found several faces that were known to him. Then it dawned upon him. None of the condemned people had died. They were alive, just like him. The people had surrounded him now.

“It is Prince Mer. Let’s rip him apart. His father did this to us. “

A random voice said from the crowd.

Mer had always thought that talking underwater was impossible. But apparently, it wasn’t so.

“Yes. Kill him!”

More voices joined in.

Soon, the crowd began moving slowly towards Mer, their discontent clearly visible. Mer knew he had to put a stop this, or else his new lease on life would be a very short one.

“Stop! Listen to me. I know how you feel. I know you are all angry, angry with the King. Angry, that he abandoned you and condemned you, no us, to this fate.”

Mer paused. He looked around to check whether his words had been registered by the people. They had stopped moving towards him. Mer let his anger swell within him.

“I share this fate with you. My own father did this to me. And he will pay. I swear this to you. You, you are all my people. And I, Prince Mer shall lead you. Together, you and I shall crush the Kingdom of Veluise. I promise you, we will have our revenge. Will you share this revenge with me?”

A long pause followed. Mer had spoken with true feelings, and his speech was soon met with cries of approval. And from that day, Mer became the king of these people, and they came to call themselves – Merfolk.

Mer’s first order of business was to understand the extents of their new abilities, their strengths and weaknesses. Mer discovered that his people though much stronger inside water, could survive on the surface as well. As long as they were near the sea air, they would not die due to suffocation. However, they were not very physically strong without the presence of water. He also understood that their diseased bodies could only digest meat, even human meat. One of the amazing things Mer discovered was that a few of his kind could alter their physical features to look like normal humans for a short amount of time. They would manage to get rid of their gills and the red hue of their eyes. Mer felt this was most interesting and useful to his plan. He began training his people to fight as soldiers. He would need them for the war that was coming. He continued planning his revenge for many months, biding his time and waiting for the right moment to make his move.

The time finally came after thirteen months. The disease had been eradicated from the Kingdom of Veluise, and the king reigned over a peaceful time. Mer had carefully selected his time. At the night of the King’s birthday, the whole kingdom was in a celebratory mood. Taking advantage of the thin vigilance, Mer and his group of thirty best soldiers snuck into the royal palace. The hooded Mer made his way into the gala and approached the king. Mer taking his hood off, revealed his presence. Mer’s face was the last thing the old King ever saw, as Mer plunged a sword into his chest. His soldiers made quick work of the astonished royal guards. He went to the ramparts and lit a torch. His Generals recognizing this as the pre-planned signal launched their attacks. Merfolk began rising from the sea and attacking the island cities from all directions. The Veluise soldiers were caught unawares. It was a massacre. The unsuspecting people of Veluise stood no chance. A once great Kingdom had been turned into a mass grave.

Mer returned to the sea. Even though Veluise was destroyed, his own losses had been heavy. More than half of his people were among the bodies littering the islands. Mer’s hatred had extended towards the rest of humanity now.  A few of his subjects did not agree with his actions. Realizing his cruel ambitions, they decided to not be a part of his actions. They decided to stand beside humanity and act against Mer.

I am one of their descendants. ‘

Edwards took a moment to register everything. He went up to Alain and cut the cloth near his elbow. The gills on his elbow glittered in the lamp’s light.

“You still haven’t told me what you were doing yesterday night”, Edwards said as he lifted his pistol.

“I was making sure things do not go wrong. We are in Merfolk territory now. Every night, I keep a lookout for those who dwell inside these seas. I know they are planning something big and it is related to you somehow. “

Edwards was bemused now.

“Me? And how do you even know about all of this? “

Alain smiled dryly.

“Captain Edwards, how did you find someone to navigate these treacherous waters so easily? A bit too convenient, I would say. I did mention that some Merfolk could change their appearance, to appear human like. “

Edwards understood now.

“Jach! “, he exclaimed.

“Yes, captain. Jach. I have been keeping an eye on him, working undercover to get wind of their plan for humanity. They – “

Alain was cut short by the impact of motion as the ship suddenly stopped. Almost instantly a knock sounded on the door.

“Captain Edwards, we seem to have hit a reef.”

Edwards looked at Alain with alarm on his face.

“They are here”, Alain responded with equal alarm.

Sea of Blood 2

It was early morning now. The rising sun was floating above The Titania, bathing it in much needed warm rays of light. Edwards glanced towards the sun. The red ball of light reminded him of the red eyes he had seen in the water yesterday night. They had appeared right next to Mr. Toobak’s body, peering from inside the water. They had appeared only for a brief instant, before they disappeared into the watery depths along with Mr. Toobak’s body, sending chills down Edwards’ spine.

Word of Mr. Toobak’s sudden disappearance had spread fast among the crew, causing panic. The entire night had been spent in calming everyone down, and getting everyone back to their jobs. Edwards was tired already, but he knew the day was going to be a long one. He still needed to have a chat with Alain. After, the disappearance of Mr. Toobak’s body, Edwards had quickly dragged Alain to the Captain’s Cabin. He bound his hands and feet and tied a rag of cloth to his mouth. Leaving the man tied to the bed in that condition, Edwards had gone forth to inform the senior crew about the events. However, he had left Alain’s part out of the story, fearing that it would contribute to the panic. However, now that the morale of the crew had been stabilized, Edwards decided he needed to have a talk with Alain, a long talk. Edwards made his way to his cabin. He entered and locked the door behind him. He turned towards Alain who was still tied to the bed. Alain looked back at him with his red eyes, which in Edwards’ opinion, looked a lot more red now. He removed the rag of cloth. Alain coughed. The rag had dried his mouth, very visibly. Edwards poured some water into Alain’s mouth and sat in front of him, fixing his stern gaze upon the pale man.

“I need answers; now. Tell me what were you doing there at night? And more importantly, what happened to Mr. Toobak? “

Alain held Captain Edwards’ gaze.

“Well, Captain Edwards. Looks like I have got to tell a whole tale to you. Let me start at the beginning “

Edwards nodded.

‘Many thousands of years ago, there existed a prosperous Island kingdom- the kingdom of Veluise. King Veluise II ruled his lands with an iron-fist. Without an heir for almost thirty years, the king was overjoyed when his wife, Queen Melvina gave birth to a child. The king was happy that he was blessed with a boy, the heir to the great kingdom. They named him Mer.  However, the king’s joy was to be short-lived.  When the prince was fourteen, an unknown disease started spreading in the kingdom. The people affected would show certain symptoms- red eyes and pale skin. They would soon find it difficult to breathe and succumb to the disease. People noted that this disease spread through contact or any exchange of fluid, making it highly dangerous. Soon, an epidemic broke out and as the death toll went on the rise, the hands of fear gripped the kingdom all the more tighter. Fearing for his people, the King decided to take extreme measures. He decreed that any person found to be affected by this disease would be tossed into the sea, fated to drown. Almost a year later, Prince Mer while on a hunting trip, came into contact with an affected person. And inevitably, he too started showing symptoms of the disease. His eyes reddened and he began growing paler by the day. The prince was bound in chains and was kept confined to his room. Being a man of his word, and fearing for the royal family, the king decided that the prince should be thrown into the sea, just like all the other diseased people. The King’s orders were swiftly followed.  On a full moon night, the Royal Guard took the prince to the edge of kingdom that overlooked the great sea. The teenage prince was then thrown into the sea. The king himself saw the prince drown under the pale glow of the moon. He had sent his heir to a watery grave.

Or so he thought. ‘

The Jaundiced Eyes

It was a wintery evening and she sat all alone inside her bedroom. She sat in her chair, staring blankly into space. She sat as if she was in a trance, uncaring to the ways of the world outside the confines of her room. She, the Queen of her kingdom had confined herself to her bedroom for almost three months now. She had almost forgotten how to smile and her face was always bereft with any sign of happiness.

The first time ‘it’ had happened was 3 months ago. That incident had shaken her to the core and had induced her into such a state. Her room was one that was suited for a queen. Beautiful tapestries and equally stunning paintings hung from the walls , contrasting with the dark but delicate masonry on them. The furniture was made from the finest material available in the land which gave it an unmatched comfort level. The best chefs in the land worked in her castle and sent in ambrosial meals which could make even a dead man drool. An amazingly crafted hearth provided a soft glow to the room and kept the chill at bay making the room cozily warm.  But all these things gave no pleasure to her. She would wake up every morning , walk to her window and take a look at the terrain outside. White was all she could see all around her. Considering it was winter time and her kingdom witnessed heavy snowfall every year, the land as far as she could see was covered with white snow . She did not know what felt worse , the monochrome of her view , the chill it brought or the fact that she had now begun to hate snow which she previously used to like. She cared not for jests, food or other happier things in life. Only snow remained transfixed in her mind. The incident had truly changed her.

She slowly got up from her chair and made her way to the wall to complete her daily ritual, a ritual she had been following for many years for now. But the incident that took place 3 months ago during the ritual had caused her to go into such a state. She stood in front of a great mirror . The frame of the mirror was engraved with many symbols not of any known tongue. She looked into the mirror and spoke the lines-

‘Mirror , mirror on the wall ,

Who is the fairest of them all? ‘