There once was a time when humans knew about the Mer-Folk. They worked together once and all was well. Then the freeze came. Slowly, as though by magic, every body of water froze over, it started from the shore line slowly creeping in towards the center, eight inches thick all the way through, and it never melted. The season’s went on and after a few failed attempts to break the Ice, the humans stopped trying. And slowly, as time passed, the Mer-Folk were forgotten. Although the Mer-Folk had the same lifespan as the humans, the Mer-folk reincarnated, with all the memories of previous lifetimes. The Mer-Folk grew bitter towards the humans, irritated that they stopped trying to free them. They came to accept a life confined under the Ice. So much so, that they didn’t notice when the Ice started to thin.
Of all the Mer-Folk in the Sea, Storm was the least social of them all. He was glad to be of use to the Royal Family, but being around large groups of people (which being at court often entails) tires him quickly. Storm was at the edge of the kelp forest when he saw a creature tangles in the Kelp. He slowly swam over to the figure and saw the most beautiful girl stuck in the kelp.
“Hello?” Storm shook her shoulder in an attempt to wake her up. Storm looked up and saw a pod of orcas swimming towards them. Storm started to untangle her in a hurry, to avoid an encounter with a killer whale. As he started to untangle her he noticed that instead of having a tail, she had two legs. Storm created an oxygen bubble around the girl’s head then checked her vitals. Although slow, the girl’s heart was still beating. Storm took the current to the healer’s caves, bringing the girl along with him.
Storm rapped on the door to the healers caves. No response.
“Maryn! Are you in there? I have somebody who needs your help!”
A merman swam up to the gate. “Maryn isn’t here. What’s wrong, who needs help?”
“I found this girl in the kelp forest. I don’t know who it is, but I have an Idea. Seaton, Where’s Maryn?”
“Bring her in, I’ll send for Maryn.”
A mermaid swam up the corridor.
“There will be no need for that” Said the Mermaid
“Maryn! This girl-”
“Storm, bring the girl this way, Seaton tend the door. If it can wait a day, tell them to come back tomorrow. The rest of the day is Urgent Matters only.”
Maryn started to swim down into caves.
“Storm, bring the girl, Hurry!”
The two mer-folk swam deep into the cave system.
“Storm, do you know who this girl is?”
“I don’t, I found her tangled up in the kelp in the Kelp forest. I have a feeling she may be Kyrila”
They swam up into one of the highest caves, one that was only partially filled with water.
“If she is, what should we do with her?” Storm said
“Did you see Jurian anywhere?”
Maryn covered a rock with seaweed
“No, I didn’t, If she’s not with Jurian we could be able to stop this whole thing”
“Storm, the probability-”
“Maryn, It’s worth a shot.”
“Put her down here.”
“Thank You Maryn, Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Go get the King, He should know about this”
Storm rapped on the gate of the castle. A mermaid answered.
“Storm? Why are you here?”
“Taloru, I must see the King, it’s urgent.”
“He’s in the throne room, this way.”
The two of them quickly swam through the corridors.
Taloru knocked and they both swam in.
“Storm, what a pleasant surprise. What brings you here?”
“Your Majesty, healer Maryn requests your immediate presence. It’s urgent.”
“Taloru, have my carriage readied immediately. Storm, brief me on the way”
A mermaid swam into the throne room as Storm and Kairo were leaving.
“Dad, where are you going?
“Healer Maryn needs my help Kelde”
“Can I come?”
Kairo glanced over at storm who shook his head slightly.
“Sorry sweetie, not this time.”
Taloru swam up the corridor.
“Your carriage is ready sir.”
“Thank you, Storm, come.”
Storm and the King followed Taloru outside.
“Storm, tell me what I need to know.”
When they arrived at the Healers Caves Maryn was waiting for them at the entrance.
“Your Majesty,” Maryn bowed “The girl is close to waking up. I think you should be there when she does.”
“Show us the way Healer.”
The three merfolk hurried through the cave system. Seaton swam out of the room as the others arrived. “She got a little restless but didn’t wake up.”
“Thank you Seaton, go get some tea, she’ll need it when she wakes up.”
“Healer Maryn, tell me about the girl.”
“When Storm first brought her in I thought she was a lost cause. She had obviously been underwater for a long time, and humans can’t survive underwater for long without aid. When I brought her up here ”
“Given the evidence, we should assume that she is indeed, Kyrila. Storm, what do you think?”
Storm swam over to the bed and hoisted himself up onto a smaller slab next to it. He took her hand in his and closed his eyes.
“I can’t get a clear impression, there’s a lot of darkness, she very well could be Kyrila but I can’t tell.”
“Did you see anyone else in the area?”
“I didn’t, however, there was a pod of Orcas swimming close, in my hurry to get to safety I wasn’t paying much attention”
The King and Storm were in the entry to the room, talking softly and waiting for the girl to wake up. Maryn and Seaton were swimming up to Kyrila and over to a different slab of rock that was being used as a work table. Maryn turned from her work table when the girl woke up. The girl tried to sit up but stopped part way up, grimacing. Maryn was quickly at her side.
“Slowly now dear, there we go.” Maryn said gently while helping her the rest of the way up.
The girl nodded her head in appreciation. She looked around the room and her eyes slowly widened. After a few minutes, she spoke softly.
“Either I’m dead, or I’m hallucinating.”
“Tell me what you see dear.”
She looked around again and spoke slowly
“I am in cave, filled about halfway with water. There is no way for light to enter, but I can see clear as day. I am sitting on a flat slab of rock, slightly above the water. There are two mermen by the door way, one by the wall and you’re a mermaid.”
“You are not dead, although you were close, and you are not hallucinating either, I am Maryn, a healer. Over by the wall is Seaton, my apprentice. By the door is King Kairo and Storm.”
“Storm.” The King gestured to the girl.
Storm nodded and swam over to the Girl.
“Place your hand palm up on my hand.”
“There have only been two humans who have fallen through the Ice, ever, the girl was one of the only humans with mer-level skill with magic. She was stronger than most Mer. We need to see if you are her.” King Kairo replied.
“How could I be her?”
She scoffed. “Reincarnated?”
“All sentient beings reincarnate dear. Merfolk remember previous lives, humans don’t.” Maryn replied
“Whatever.” The girl tensely place her had on Storm’s. Placing his other hand on her shoulder, he closed his eyes and started humming a melody so low pitched, that the girl couldn’t hear it.”
“Relax my dear, It will be alright.” soothed Maryn.
“What exactly is he doing?”
“No,” Maryn smiled “Every living creature gives off vibrations. Storm is the most skilled at reading them. This vibration gives off three different waves that, combined, provide an accurate reading to those skilled in reading them.”
Storm released the girl and swam back to King Kairo.
“I must compare the reading I have received with my records back at the castle.”
“What should I do in the mean time?”
“You must rest to get your strength up. We may need you in the near future.” Storm replied.
“When can I go home?”
“No one has been to the surface for centuries”
“Storm, you have records at the castle?”
Storm looked down at the sea floor
“No, Sire, I felt that she shouldn’t be around when I first tell you.”
The king nodded. “I’ll gather the counsel and you can tell us there.”
“Your Majesty, If I may, Perhaps we should have Prince Shiro attend as well.”
“Storm, if she is Kyrila, are you going to be okay?”
“I think so Sire.”
“Your Majesty, am I to understand that you went to visit a mysterious human, with out telling ANYONE where you were going, and without taking any guards.”
“Triton I appreciate the concern, I felt I was in no danger, and, Storm was there.”
“Could Storm, who hasn’t been trained AT ALL really have been able to protect you from Kyrila? Every time she comes back she has gotten stronger. There is no way for us to know how he would have fared against the most powerful magic-holder known on the planet”
“Again Triton, I appreciate the concern but I’m fine. The girl was too weak to do anything more than speak. Now, I did not call this counsel to be reprimanded about my decision, which could be considered treason. What should we do about the girl?”
At that, the room burst into conversation, different opinions being shouted across the room. Kairo tried to calm the room down for a minute or so before looking at Storm and gesturing to the crowd. Nodding, Storm waved his hands and put the room on mute, everyone turned to look at him.
“Thank you Storm, Now, let’s continue like adults.”
Storm and the King swam out of the counsel room an hour later.
“We still haven’t come to a decision, and we need to take action soon. Storm what do you suggest?”
“Your Majesty, Go with your instinct. I find sometimes instinct is better than logic. Just, please be careful.”
This time when King Kairo went to visit Kyrila he brought Crown Prince Shiro, Storm, and a handful of guards. Maryn and Seaton were at the cave entrance when the entourage arrived. The king and Maryn spoke in hushed voiced on the way to Kyrila’s room. Prince Shiro drifted closer and closer to Kairo and Maryn, subconsciously trying to hear their conversation. Storm kept pulling Prince Shiro away giving Kairo and Maryn some space. Maryn knocked softly on the cave wall before swimming in, waving everyone else on.
“So I guess I’m dangerous,” Kyrila remarked.
“What makes you think that dear?” Maryn asked gently.
“All of you have guards now, you wouldn’t have brought them if I didn’t pose any threat.”
“You are a quite insightful girl Kyrila,” said the King.
Storm felt anxiety building in Kyrila, he leaned into Kairo and shared an idea with him. Kairo nodded and Storm swam up to Kyrila’s side.
Come, swim with me,” Storm spoke reassuringly, holding out his hand.
“I won’t be able to breathe out there,” She protested.
Storm waved his hand and a bubble formed around Kyrila’s head, then popped.
“You’ll be able to now. Come, you’ll be glad you did.”
Kyrila hesitated, slid off the rock, splashed into the water. Storm took her hand and they swam out the door.
When they were out of sight from the caves, Storm slowed his pace.
“Do you want to know exactly what is going on?”
Kyrila turned and looked him straight in the eye.
“I do, everything you can tell me, I want to know,” Kyrila said earnestly “I need to know.”
“Years ago, Centuries, at this point, Humans and the Merfolk worked together. We shared our magic with them and in return they would share their technology with us. One day a Human man came to the king and demanded magic from him. The King saw a darkness in his heart and refused. Outraged the Man left, swearing that he will get revenge. He went to a girl, who had great skill in magic, and made her to freeze over every ocean, every sea, every lake, every large body of water in the world. The man and woman have reincarnated At the same time ever since, and every time they strengthen the ice. This is the first time she has discovered this world without the man. Some of us are hoping this time, the story will change.”
Kyrila sat there for a few minutes dumb-struck.
“So I’m the girl in the story, and I’ve trapped all of you under here for centuries? Haven’t you ever tried to melt the ice or break it or something?”
“We did try, none of us have strong enough magic to combat yours.”
“Can I melt the Ice?”
“Not right now. You need to learn how to harness your magic before you can melt the Ice.”
“Was I taught how to use my magic before I refroze it?”
“No, magic remembers how it’s been used. When you tried to refreeze it, you had the magic memory of how to.”
“I want to make this right. Who can teach me how to use my magic?”
Storm visited Kyrila everyday for a few hours teaching her how to harness her magic. After a few weeks Storm brought The King to watch her practice.
“Her progress is remarkable. Would she pose any threat to the kingdom or my people?”
“I don’t believe so.”
“Good, bring her to the castle next week. The Counsel needs to know she poses no threat.”
“So this is the girl.”
“She looks harmless.”
“She always looks harmless.”
“How can we be sure?”
“What if she turns?”
“Storm should know, especially if he marked her.”
“If he hasn’t he should.”
“Would he be strong enough?”
“Wait, what? What are you talking about?”
The entire Counsel quieted. King Kairo cleared his throat.
“Kyrila, Storm can–”
“Your Majesty, please, let me explain. Kyrila, when I read your vibrations I also marked you. When I need to I can find you through the mark. I can also siphon your magic. We needed to take precautions. If you wanted to, your unharnessed magic could have destroyed everything. I only would have or could have marked you what when you were weakened state, and I couldn’t do it now, or before you learned magic, you would have subconsciously resisted it. I wouldn’t do it now that I know you.”
“Could you remove it?”
“Could you remove it?”
“You know I am no threat, that I want to fix my mistake and you haven’t removed it.” She laughed darkly “You told me you trust me. Is this how you trust?” Kyrila started to swim out the door.
“Kyrila, wait.” King Kairo said.
Kyrila paused, she turned to look at The King
“With all due respect Sire, if you need me Storm can tell you exactly where I am.”
Kyrila swam out the door.
Storm waited a while before going after Kyrila. He found her on a rock formation outside the Kelp forest.
“It took you long enough,” Kyrila spat. “Did the king finally decide he needed me? Or did he want to make sure I wasn’t wreaking havoc?”
“Neither, I needed–” Storm stopped when he realized what he was about to say. “This where I found you.”
“Why did you help me? It’s obvious you didn’t think I was a mermaid when you found me.”
“I had hoped you were.” Storm sat beside her. “Centuries ago you were a mermaid, loved by everyone who met you. You were always kind and helpful and never complained. We all thought you would stay with The Father when you died. You met this guy. The two of you didn’t care for each other, you were kind enough to each other. Slowly the two of you became inseparable. No case of true love was truer than the love shared by you. One day as the two of you were swimming through this very kelp forest. Bandits attacked. You used magic to protect yourself and him. There were scores of them.”
Storm broke off.
“And?” Kyrila prodded
Storm took a deep breath.
“Eventually they broke through. He tried to fight them off but they overwhelmed him. They killed him. They kept you alive and took you somewhere. You couldn’t bear to live while he was dead because you felt like you could’ve prevented it. They say the Ice froze over because all the warmth in your soul left.”
“He waited for you though. When he found that you had begged the father to become human, to remove all memories of him he asked to become a Guardian. He has stayed on Earth searching for you, hoping to convince you to become a mermaid again. Once the two of you are reunited and you become a mermaid again his job as guardian will be complete and the two of you will spend the rest of eternity together.”
Storm took Kyrila’s hand in both of his.
“There, the mark is gone. If you need me trace the mark on the back of your hand. If I need you the mark will glow.”
Storm started to swim away.
“Storm, wait,” Kyrila sighed. “Thank you.”
Kyrila swam into Healer Maryn’s cave more at ease than she had been when she arrived under the Ice. Storm was waiting for her there.
“Kyrila, King Kairo wants you back at the castle.”
Kyrila sighed heavily
“Alright, I have a question.”
“I would love to answer it if I can.”
Kyrila didn’t speak until the two of them swam until no one could hear them.
“Storm, is Prince Shiro the Guardian?”
“No one knows who the Guardian is besides the Guardian himself.”
King Kairo, Prince Shiro, Storm, and Kyrila were swimming through the town looking for somewhere for Kyrila to stay that was closer to the castle. Not many merfolk were willing to take in a human. After a few hours of searching they gave up and started to swim back to the castle.
A man swam in front of them. The guards swam forward to ask the man to move to they could pass.
The man whipped out two daggers and stabbed the guards. More men came out from the shadows and behind buildings.
Storm looked over at Kyrila and saw panic in her eyes. Storm nodded, the bandits started advancing. Kyrila threw up a force-field around the small group.
Kyrila started picking off the bandits one by one. Storm took the King and Prince around the fighting and into a carriage.
The force-field flickered and went out. The bandits took Kyrila and shoved her into a carriage.
Storm followed quietly, staying out of sight. Storm stopped paying attention to how close he was. One of the bandits saw Storm. He slowly diverged from the group and looped behind Storm. The bandit stunned Storm and loaded him into a carriage behind Kyrila.
The bandits blindfolded Kyrila and led her through a cave system. They took her to a cave the size of the King’s Dance hall. In the middle of the cave there was another human.
“Remove the blindfold,” He commanded.
“I was worried about you Kenzie.”
“What do you want?”
“I need a favor.”
“And you kidnapped me? There are easier ways Jace.”
“Your family is in danger. You know how to use your powers, help your family.”
“What’s going on?”
“Kenzie, these mer-folk must be kept separate from the humans.”
“We have nothing to fear from the mer-folk.”
“He’s already found you,” Jace let out a frustrated sigh. “This ruins everything.”
A knock on the door echoed through the room. Jurian swam over to the door.
“We have a guest,” Jace swam back to Kenzie. “Bring him in.”
Two bandits led a struggling man next to Jace. He stopped when he saw her.
“I failed you, I’m sorry.”
“You didn’t fail–” Kenzie stopped abruptly. “You’re the Guardian! How did I not see that before?”
“I had to let you find out yourself.”
“Very touching.” Jace brandished a glass dagger “Kenzie, refreeze the Ice or he dies.”
“Kyrila don’t do it. I’ll be fine.”
“Storm I can’t let you die!” Kyrila.
“We’ll see each other again.”
“Jace, I’m not freezing the water anymore.” She said.
Jace plunged his dagger into Storms stomach.
“Storm,” Kenzie whispered.
She swam over to Storm and cradled his head in her lap.
“Kyrila I love you.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be, you did the the right thing.”
Kyrila swam level with Jace
“Father, I wish to become a mermaid again.”
Kyrila built her magic until she couldn’t hold any more. Kyrila directed her magic into the Ice, melting it. Melting the Ice took too much energy, more than Kyrila had. Kyrila fell to the cave floor next to Storm, with a tail, instead of legs.
Now, this is not the end of their story. Kyrila and Storm still roam the earth. Kyrila and Storm come down to earth as angels to comfort, to protect, to guide. Very few have seen them, but those who have see their joy as they continue to serve their brothers and sisters. Although their presence is not always seen, it can always be felt in times of joy or sorrow Storm and Kyrila will always be there. When someone dies, Storm leads them home to the Father while Kyrila stays to comfort those left behind, for she once felt the sorrow that comes when a loved one passes on.
Allison Williams, 16, is a sophomore who likes to read and write fantasy novels. She’s been writing since grade 5.