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Chapter 10: At First Sight
“Ah… It shall soon be upon us.” Triton Kaiken said softly as he looked onto the mass of merfolk.
Several pods of different Piscien merfolk conversed amongst each other, their own respective species gathered together, excitedly chatting with one another in anticipation of this mystical night.
“Father,” Adra Savarna asked as she beamed around the new and unusual merfolk, “Who ARE these merfolk? Why are they here?” Triton smiled as he stroked his daughter’s little cheek.
“Tonight is a rare and special moon; when the shining Sea Mother Atargatis illuminates the moon itself with Her heart.”
“Illuminate with her heart?” She asked. Noita Umiato smiled as she loomed in front of the small mermaid.
“Once every few years, or even within one, the Sea Mother touches the moon with Her divine love, and so the moon turns red to symbolize Her love for all merfolk. And it is then, and now, that eligible merfolk gather together, and find the love within each other.”
“Does this mean I will find my true love???” Savarna asked, beaming even more at this new prospect.
“Hahaha,” Kaiken laughed softly, “Not yet, my Daughter. You are yet still too young. When you grow up, however, you shall find love when it is your time, no doubt.” Savarna smiled happily, and then looked around, turning her head over to her own pod.
“… Where is Brother? I do not see him.”
Kaiken’s smiled faded, if only a little. “He is up upon the surface.”
“Why is that? Everyone seems so happy.”
“He is… A little fearful tonight…”
“Why not? He is going to find his love tonight!” Savarna stated with excitement.
“If the Undines favor him, my Daughter…” He replied, rather hesitantly.
“Huh? I do not understand…” Savarna pondered. Umiato rubbed the mermaid’s arm, and nudged her.
“Look there, Daughter…” She said, “There are other meryin,” Umiato then directed her to the other small, young children of the Piscien merfolk; they have no part to play in this, “Why not go and play with them?”
“Yes, Mother!” Savarna said as she hugged her mother, and swam swiftly to the other young ones. Umiato giggled as she drifted over to Kaiken, holding onto his thick, strong arm. She looked up at him to see a look of concern on his face.
“You seem troubled, my love…” Umiato said, knowing the reason before it has been said.
“It is my Son who is troubled…” Kaiken said as he gazed onto the swimming masses of fish-like merfolk. “For a few years now, our Son has been… Anxious… Do not deny that you sense this too…”
“He IS our Son, love,” Umiato said as she brought her hand to his cheek, and turned his head to look her, “Our Son is the Adra Triton of our pod. He has a lot of responsibilities to uphold and live up to for the sake of our pod.”
“It is more than that though…” He turned his back towards the many merfolk, “This night marks only the 7th red moon of his life, and he is yet to find his love. With each unsuccessful moon, I can surmise that his sense of self-worth washes away…” He said with a sad sigh, “I am beginning to think the Undines play him for trickery.”
“Kaiken,” Umiato said, “Speak no ill of the Undines, for they know no mischief.”
“Do they not?” Kaiken replied, “My Son is what every Adra Triton should aspire to be; he is swift, skillful, intuitive,” He looked to his mate, and stroked her pearly cheek, “Kind and compassionate,” Umiato smiled at him, “And as far as appearances go, he is of fine make of us both,” Umiato giggled as she held to her Triton, “I do not understand how he has not found his love yet. After all,” He then turned to her again, and delivered a soft kiss to Umiato’s mouth, “I found you on my first red moon.” Umiato smiled and as she kissed back.
“Yes you have… Love knows not time or convenience, my love,” She said. Kaiken sighed again, looking up to where his son may supposedly be. “But Son is still so very young. Finding his love now would be very early in this stage, considering you are still teaching him to be a true Triton.”
“All the same. Regardless, I seem to have imposed a harmful expectation upon him on a matter that is dictated by sheer chance. The Undines are what deliver the wonder of Mother Atargatis’s love. So why do they toy with my Son?”
“They toy with no one, love,” Umiato said as she swam in front of Kaiken, “He will find his mate eventually.” Kaiken then looked back onto the many pods of merfolk.
“… Do you really think tonight will be the night?” He asked. Umiato smiled softly as she kissed him again.
“If the Undines favor him, my love…”
“MOTHER! FATHER!” Exclaimed their young daughter. The young mermaid swam up to them, looking upset.
“What ails you, Daughter?”
“Wh-What if Brother finds his love tonight? If he finds love, does that mean he will leave us? Will he start with his own pod?!” She said, looking like she is about to weep. The Triton and Noita chuckled and smiled softly illegal bahis at her.
“Hahaha, no, Daughter,” Umiato said to the meryin, “That is not how it works.” She lowers down slowly to level with the small mermaid, “When your Brother does find love, he and the mermaid forms the bond to each other, and reunite when they come of age to succeed our pod when it is time for your Father to pass it on to him. He will never leave us, Daughter.”
“Alright…” Savarna said, “I hope he NEVER leaves.” Kaiken smiled as he turned her around for her to play with the other meryin again.
“I am sure he will not, Daughter,” Savarna smiled happily before she swam back to the other young ones.
The fifth white moon is almost past. Merrick sighed as he held onto the rock with crossed arms, his trident still mounted on his back, looking at the white orb radiating in the sky. Having been up on the surface for about an hour or so, his upper body is completely dry, while his frilly blue tail swerved and waved slowly in the water, stirring along the sleepy current of the ocean.
A red moon is tonight. The night when mermen and mermaids all over the world gather and find love. He sighed as he rested his chin down on his arms as the wind plays across his flawless complexion, ruffling his blonde hair a bit.
Tonight is supposed to be an exciting and magical night, and yet he’s just depressed. He used to get this deep, sick feeling in the pit of his stomach every time the red moon appears. Now it’s just an unfair reminder of what he has to live with everyday. He already knows what the outcome of the night is going to be-
“Oh?” He feels a vibration on his chest coming from the glowing shell slice blur beneath him. Denizyr is calling the pod together. Merrick looks back up to the moon, and saw a sliver of glowing crimson peering on the side of the bright whiteness. “Right… Lets get this over with…” He muttered as he slipped himself from the rock, and into the water, where his skin riddled with translucent scales, his fingers connected in webs, his hair stiffened into sharp fins, and his ears flattening into gills.
He swims down into the water, following the many voices resonating through the sea; it’s not just the Piscien merfolk who have gathered tonight; somewhere else, any where else, out there in the entire ocean, Piscien, Amnien, and Holsien merfolk are taking part in this sacred, ancient ritual. Any Triton or Noita can at the very least detect just the faintest hint of chatter in the entire world.
Looking to the side, he can see his mother hugging another mermaid, one with more veil fins around her body than herself, along with a pod full of pearly white merfolk with long, flowing fins; his grandmother and grandfather and a pod of Arctic Veil merfolk along with several other varieties of cold-adapted merfolk.
Off the corner of his eye, Merrick spots a purple flicker. A small smile found itself on his face as swam to his pod. He undulated his tail up and down until he arrived to the sand 20ft below the rest of the merfolk. He then took his trident and planted it right next to the mighty trident of his father, along with a whole slew of spears and bows planted into the sand; weapons are not needed during the red moon.
He swims up and swirled his fishy tail to catch up to his pod. As the Adra Triton, he moved to align to his usual spot at the front of his pod, next to his father, overlooking the mermaids and mermen of his own school. Kaiken looked down onto his son, taking a deep breath, hoping that this night of the red moon will be the last that fails the young Triton.
Umiato looms up next to her mate, with Savarna missing, but is excused from her spot, as she is playing with other meryin.
Kaiken raised his arms up, and sang out to his pod in a long, deep call, as does Umiato choruses her voice along with his.
A large, manta ray Triton and the puffer fish Noita called out to their pod, in a long, echoic exclamation. As did a Triton of a pod of seahorse merfolk. Along with a Noita of a school of great white shark merfolk. Each and every Triton and Noita in every Piscien pod that has arrived on this spot, all manner of weapon planted down below then in peace, call out to their own kin.
“Tonight, my pod,” Kaiken began. The meryin nearby stopped playing, and looked in curiosity as their leaders spoke up at their respective pods, with their own speeches prepared, “Is the night, where the Shining Sea Mother, Atargatis, illuminates the night sky, and thus the ocean itself, with her very heart!
“We, but a small gathering of the Piscien merfolk,” Umiato continued, “Are the remnants, the very essence of memories of the great Kingdom of Atlantis! In Her benevolence, Sea Mother Atargatis gives us the very honor, the very chance, to find our true, and only love!” As the Tritons spoke, there rang a few traces of eerie, yet playful sounds that came from a glimpse of shimmering violet here and there.
“Tonight,” Kaiken explains, illegal bahis siteleri “All eligible, young merfolk who hath no mate shall loom and dance under the shine of the red moon, fly with the Undines, and find the one, the only half that shall make up your own union!” As he spoke, the white moon light filtering through surface began to gain a pink tint, “The waves of fate decides whom you fall in love with! The Undines — small, yet joyful — are the gleeful spawn of magic from the red moon, a gift! From the Sea Mother Herself, to allow us to find our mate!”
“Though you, or those who fall in love with you,” Umiato points out, “May be too young to leave your pod, know that the bond will never break, through time nor distance, your love for one another shall NEVER die! That is the light of the Undines! That is the gift of the heart of the Sea Mother. In time, when either of you come of age, one or the other can leave their pod to join the other for the rest of time!”
The fluttering pink light soon possessed a red hue. As the light danced through the seawater, glimmers of purple swam about, mewing strange echoes as they loomed and looped about. Small, violet-colored fish, their way illuminated with glowing little lights at the top of their heads, glowing with magenta lines along their pigmy bodies, flashing and glowing as they zoomed around, with translucent blue fins on their backs. These creatures are in the image of tiny mermaids. They swim through the water with their wing-like fins.
“My pod… Go forth…” Kaiken announced, “And find your love!” The merfolk then rose up, and swam into the open area. Each Piscien mermaid and merman swam in random directions.
“Merrick,” Came a familiar voice. The Adra turned to see his friend, Brishen putting a hand onto his shoulder, “… Good luck, this time.” Brishen said. Merrick smiled and nodded. This would be Brishen’s 5th red moon, and like Merrick, has not found a mermaid to be his mate.
They both swam into the swirling mass of Piscien merfolk. Kaiken looked to his mermaid, Umiato. She smiled as her dainty hand held onto his thick hand. Together, they loomed and joined into the massive storm of rejoicing merfolk.
Flashes of violet and red Undines skim playfully about. They fly around in the dizzying fray of love-seeking merfolk — that is only for the merfolk who are single and eligible. Merfolk who already have found their mate happily dance to the song of excitement, the cries of joy that emanate from the tiny sea nymphs, the rapid stirring of the water.
A stout, lobster-like mermaid scuttled her way through the wild fray of merfolk. Looking this way and left searching for someone. She swears she’s already found him last time, he should be here. Just then, the lobster mermaid felt herself get coiled around by a long, smooth tail, with a long-reaching tailfin on the top and bottom of his elongated tail, ending at the tip of his tail. The mermaid smiled happily as her eel-like merman wrapped himself around her, embracing her lovingly. Reunited, the lobster and eel danced, hand in claw, in the moment of love. At this moment in time, both eel and lobster started to radiate and glow with a dancing magenta sheen.
Merrick twirled himself as he swam through the mermaids around him, turning his head, and looking in every direction as he spiraled. His vivid blue tail with the white frilly membranes catches the eyes of a few mermaids as they swim about, examining him for no more than several seconds before diverting their attention to other merman about. Once again, he dances and flurries in the mass of eager, single merfolk.
An emerald green leafy sea dragon mermaid withered her way around, slithering through the water. She looked with awe at the cyclone of Piscien mermen and merfolk. She held still in one place, a little intimidated to move too much.
A stingray merman floated up above, inspecting the swirling sea life, before he glides and dove down. As he moved, he saw a sailfish mermaid, with a very sharp nose, and swam in to get in a closer look.
A purple fish mermaid, one from Merrick’s pod, swam, looking this way and that for whatever merman will have her. She dove in a loop, when an Undine appeared swimming right beside her. It looked at her with its bright, yellow eyes, and giggled before is swerved away, disappearing in the water. She huffed in a desperate look as she followed the direction of which the Undine disappeared. The mermaid turned around and looked, just as a golden seahorse merman moved up. His dark blue, orb-like eyes looked into hers. The mermaid felt a twinge play across her face. The scales on the mermaid’s lavender scales shimmered in a magenta glow that flashed along her tail, the scales along her chest and face, and the fins on her arms as well as her finger-webs. A magenta light refracted along the merman’s skin pattern along his back, arms, and spirally tail. Their hands touched together as a smile was shared between them as they interlaced their fingers and began canlı bahis siteleri to swim, hand in hand.
And just like that, love is born between one and another.
Kaiken and Umiato held each other’s hands, swimming in a graceful dance. Both the Triton and the Noita shimmer with the brilliant light of love, skimming along their bodies. Umiato let go, and spiraled around the large merman, his thick, muscular tail waving back and forth as Umiato’s long, veil-like cloaking draped around him in a beautiful, gleaming swirl around his firm form. Her hands moved and rubbed daintily long his scaled torso, tenderly playing along the few old scars from harsh times gone by.
The schools of pseudo fish creatures stormed and jumbled about. Within an hour, a lot of the merfolk are holding hands, a mermaid and a merman, coiled together, having found each other. Merrick looped, and swam, sensing the red moon dance is coming to an end. He sailed and loomed, turning around to see the new and current couples. However, he’s not alone in being alone. There are almost just as many merfolk floating in mid-water, not having found his or her mate this night. He looked to the side, and smirked in content as he saw Brishen, holding an aqua-transparent mermaid, her lower half veil-like, with a few long, stringy tentacles and three long, lavender, leaf-like stingers — her and Brishen’s scales/skin glimmered with a magenta light.
“Good… That is wonderful, Brishen…” He mumbled. Well, at least his best friend has found his love.
The Undines appeared less and less frequently, disappearing and blinking out slowly, one by one. The filtered light from the surface, gone from white, to blue, to pink, magenta, to red, and reverted back to white.
It’s passed. The red moon has left. It’s over for another one or few years.
As Merrick floated, he would feel a strong hand, place onto his back, as a large figure swims next to him. Kaiken examines his son with a sympathetic look in his eyes — Merrick looks sad and disappointed, after yet the 7th red moon of his life failed to grant him a mermaid.
“I am sorry, my Son…” Kaiken said, “Perhaps the next one…”
“I…” Merrick said, “I need to be alone right now…” Without waiting for an answer, Merrick drifted away, looking gloomy about the outcome as always.
“Yes, of course…” Kaiken says softly as he watches Merrick fetch his trident before swimming off.
—5 Years Ago—
“I am sorry, my Son,” Triton Kaiken said, placing his large hand onto the back of his young offspring.
“No… What, why…” Adra Merrick looked on, whimpering, near tears. Tonight is his 3rd red moon. The dance is ending, and he still hasn’t found his mermaid! He feels so rejected and unwanted. Merrick swore he saw a few mermaids take a glance at him, so why didn’t they go to him? He tried! He really tried! For the third time, no one was interested in him.
“It is still not over, my Son.” Kaiken tries to say in reassurance, “There is still time…” The young merman held his mouth with both hands as he tried to stifle his weeping. Kaiken sighed as his son’s emotions ran so close to the surface.
“I-I, I need to be alone…!” Merrick said right as he swam away, pushing his tail forcefully so he would speed off, feeling humiliated by the very idea of him, the Adra Triton of his own pod, not finding a mermaid already!
“S-Son! Wait,” Kaiken said, looking sadly at his poor son. Kaiken felt those pearly white arms drape around his chest. He looked down as he felt his mate hold onto him, “I hope the next red moon…”
“Yes…” Noita Umiato said softly. It is very hard for a merman that young to not meet a mate during a red moon, especially for an Adra. “You have imposed your austerity and order to hard on him, Kaiken.”
“Hahhh…” He sighed, “Yes, I have…”
Having swam far away from the pods, Merrick curled up to a nearby reef. He doesn’t understand… He swam with the mermaids, flashing his tail and swimming style, just like his father told him, but still, no one took an interest.
To be honest, he felt like he didn’t belong swimming around near the females, trying to attract mermaids. Strangely enough, more often than not, he found himself glancing at the mermen more than he should have. Come to think of it, that’s what he’s mostly been doing on the other two times during a red moon… Was that it? Is THAT the problem??? Was he swimming for the mermen this whole time without knowing it? Oh no, if THAT’S true, he must’ve looked so foolish!
“I’m… Argghh, I’m…” He pants with horror as this new prospect slowly sinks in, and he doesn’t even have a word for it… To not seek out the females, but to look to the males… “I failed… I failed myself…” Merrick cringed and whimpered as his swirl of thoughts made him more and more upset, “… What AM I?? What is wrong with me???”
He HAS to be attracted to mermaids! He HAS to! A merman mating with another merman?! That’s utter nonsense! But at the same time, Merrick can’t see himself with a mermaid. For a moment, he pictured himself, twirling and swimming with a merman. The very idea of it… It’s strangely appealing but… It’s not supposed to happen! “No, no! That can’t be what I am!”
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