Child of the Drenched: Part One
He raced along the shore screaming her name as he desperately scanned the beach and ocean for any sign of her. Where could she have gone? What was he going to tell her mother? These thoughts, along with all the terrible possibilities of what could have happened to her, raced through his head. Every moment that passed without sight of her made him sick with fear; she couldn’t just have vanished all on her own.
Below the waves a lone figure swam into the depths, a young blue Usul cradled in her arms. She kept swimming until she reached her home, the lair of the Drenched. Her sisters swam out to meet her.
“What have you brought, sister?” the eldest asked.
“A child. I want to keep her,” the youngest replied, breathless with nervous energy.
The middle sister peered at the small Usul and drew back in disgust, “Really? It is so ugly!”
“I think she is beautiful. Besides, she has great magical potential, I can feel it. Please, sisters,” the youngest pleaded.
“She does. Very well, we shall keep her and train her,” the eldest said.
The eldest laid her hand on the Usul’s head and chanted something. The child started to glow and her fur turned as dark as the night. The child awoke in her strange surroundings, but she was unafraid. She no longer remembered her home above the waves.
Child sat on a coral reef and stared upward at the light filtering down from the surface. She wished that she could go to the surface and see what it looked like above the waves, but her mothers had strictly forbidden her from ever doing that. She sighed and swam home, just a shadow on the sea floor.
Child normally kept to her own room unless summoned by mothers, but she had not seen much of them of late and decided to look for them. She swam through the house, her searching in vain. As she wondered where they could be, she suddenly remembered the cave with the air pocket. She knew it was there, but she had never been in it. She decided to go see if they were there.
Child put her head above water into the room slowly. She drew back in surprise when she found that she wasn’t alone. Her mothers weren’t there, but a red Kyrii was. His hands were tied behind his back and he was bound in chains. He drew back too and Child realized that he was afraid of her.
“Hello?” she said slowly, hoping that was the right word.
He looked surprised. “What are you?”
Child smiled, and the Red Kyrii looked into her sky blue eyes, his fear of her vanishing. Child had no idea why he was there or why he chained up. She knew nothing about the true nature of the Drenched. She swam up to him and pulled herself up onto the floor and started freeing him from the chains.
“I’m Jacques. What is your name and why are you here?” Jacques asked.
“Child, my home,” Child replied, hoping that was the answer to what he had asked.
“Child is your name?” he asked incredulously. “Are you a prisoner of those witches?”
Child shook her head at him; she could tell that he was saying something bad about her mothers. He waited and she tried her hardest to remember the words. It had been so long since she had learned them. She didn’t even remember why she learned them or from whom. Her mothers only spoke the language of the faeries to her.
“My mothers,” Child tried desperately to make him understand.
“Those creatures are your mothers?” Jacques asked incredulously.
Child nodded as she pulled the last chain out from around him. Before she could untie his hands, she felt something. She knew she had to get out of there. She dove below the surface of the water and hid. A beautiful Maraquan Aisha swam by her hiding place and up into the room where Jacques was. A minute later the Eldest Drenched sister passed by and up into the cave.
Almost immediately the Aisha passed again and her mother followed, chasing her. Before she could immerge from her hiding place to follow them, Jacques swam by. Child followed after he was far enough ahead not to be able to see her. She came to the cave’s mouth and looked out.
Her mothers and the strangers were fighting each other. Child’s magic was strong, but she didn’t want to fight anyone, so she just watched. She began to wonder if she should intervene, but soon her dilemma was ended by the Chasm Beast’s appearance. Her mothers quickly swam inside to escape the beast. She stayed there, watching Jacques and his friends swim away until the youngest saw her and grabbed her hand and pulled her away from the entrance. Child would never forget that day.
Eight years later...
Child put everything she needed in her bag and looked around her room one last time. She was doing it; she was going to the surface. She was ready, she had learned the surface dwellers' language so there wouldn’t be a language gap like last time. She hoped her mothers would forgive her for leaving without their permission. They had forbidden her to go, but she was grownup now and she needed to start making the decisions in her life.
She placed a letter on her bedside table and swam out the window. She turned only once to look back at her home. Then she turned and swam away out into the ocean. Not long later, she decided it was time to go up to the surface and look around to make sure she was on course.
Her heart raced as she swam upward, every second bringing her closer to a world where people lived on land and saw the sky. Child couldn’t wait to find out what dry land was and what the sky and sun looked like. Finally her head broke the surface of the water.
She took a deep breath of the air and looked around. The ocean spread out around her in all directions and shone blindingly in the sunshine. She looked up at the blue sky and was blinded by the sun. She laughed and just floated on her back in the water, staring up at the endless blue expanse of sky with its fluffy white clouds.
Finally she looked around again and noticed an island not far away. According to her maps this place was Krawk Island. She started to swim towards it, all the while wondering what strange things she would see and learn there. She did not know what a dangerous place it was for a girl who knew nothing about pirates.
Child pulled herself up onto a pier on Krawk Island, her Maractite body drying instantly. She looked around, but she didn’t notice the looks she was getting from the people around her. Child was unaware of Maractite’s value or even what it was. She just started walking straight forward, certain that she would find something to interest her eventually. Not long later she came to the Swashbuckling Academy. Cap’n Three Legs was standing outside and he spied the Usul.
“Ahoy there, lass! What be ye doing on Krawk Island?” Cap’n called out.
“Just looking around the island, sir. This is my first time on dry land,” Child explained.
Cap’n shook his head and replied, “Aye, that be trouble. A young lass with no protection will be in danger on this here island. I be Cap’n Three Legs and I run the Swashbuckling Academy. Ye should come train at me school and learn how to protect yerself.”
“I think I can take care of myself pretty well, but I would like to learn how to use those silver things pirates fight with. Do you teach that?” Child replied.
Cap’n pulled out his cutlass and asked, “Ye mean one of these? It be called a cutlass. Ye want to fight with a cutlass, do ye? Aye, that I can teach ye, for one dubloon,” Cap’n told her.
Child reached into her bag, found her purse, and took a dubloon out of it. She had found thousands of them on the ocean floor and had saved them after her mothers told her the surface dwellers used them for money. Cap’n Three Legs gestured for her to follow him inside.
“What be ye name, lassie?” Cap’n asked as they walked into the academy.
“My name is Child,” Child answered.
“That’s really ye name? What were ye parents thinking, not naming ye? No, ye can not go about with a name like that. Ye need a proper name,” Cap’n said.
“Child isn’t a name?” Child asked in confusion.
“Child is what a young one be,” Cap’n said.
“Oh, I see. That makes a lot of things I read make sense now. Well, what is a proper name for me, sir?” Child asked.
“Well, ye be made out of Maractite, so a proper name for ye would be Mara,” Cap’n answered.
“I like the sound of Mara; I’ll take your advice then, sir,” Mara said.
Cap’n led Mara into a room in the academy where a sword instructor was giving a lesson. Cap’n Three Legs introduced to the instructor Mara and gave her a cutlass. Then Cap’n left and the instructor took over. He put Mara in a place in the line and started from the top, showing them footing positions.
The youngest Drenched sister swam into Child’s room. Child had not come when she called and Child never ignored them. She wasn’t nearly as wicked and cruel as her sisters and she had real affection for Child. She was truly worried about her when Child didn’t respond to her calls.
She looked around Child’s room and immediately noticed that many things were missing. She saw the envelope on her bedside table and pounced on it, ripping it open with violence. She read the words of the letter within with trembling hands.
I know that you will not approve of what I am about to do, but I must. I am going to the surface. There is so much I want to know about the world above and I cannot learn from down here. The magic you have taught me will keep me safe and I will come home soon with stories to tell you of the world above.
Your loving daughter, Child.’
Her hands shook harder. Child was too innocent; she would never survive in the world above. The youngest Drenched sister destroyed the letter quickly; if her sisters saw it, they would be angry and would punish Child when she came home. She had to find her before they learned she was gone or she fell into the hands of one the pirates above. Her magic made her a tempting target, a pirate would easily see how much she could do for them and a cunning one would understand how to manipulate her to their will.
She swam out the window and headed for Krawk Island. While she couldn’t go on land, she could watch the harbor and retrieve Child when she saw her.
To be continued...