PART ONE: THE ESCAPE
Marina was in a constant hyper-vigilante state as she eluded discovery from her Master because she was certain that if he knew the truth, that somehow, she had overcome all the brainwashing of the Lily Institute and was fully conscious, he would undoubtedly ensure that she’d never live to tell the tale…
She could hardly believe so much could happen in the Florian Ocean within the span of a greater Oceanic Cycle (a year)… The Former King Nail had been betrayed by his own men with the entire scheme being orchestrated by an awakened Lily. Up to date, no one knew how the Lily had gained enough consciousness to not only overcome her training but develop Siren-like tendencies and somehow convince Mermen to turn against their own King but that was what had transpired and rumor had it that the Siren had magic powerful enough to allow her to walk in the sun…
The Lily Institute had come under large scrutiny and all lilies were thoroughly inspected. None were deemed suspicious but thereafter, life for the Lilies had become even more stressful. One of the King’s closest allies, a noble named Bastian had been the one to reorganize the Florian Kingdom assisting the Queen to the best of his abilities in conducting her royal duties.
Bastian had been an enigmatic leader that the people trusted and he had guided them through the hardest moment experienced by their people after the death of the King- the Queen’s conversion into a Siren. It had been his swift action that had led to her execution without any casualties experienced on the side of justice.
The King’s closest ally soon ascended to the position of Regent of the Florian Kingdom while the proper successor of the King was still being determined. As Regent, Bastian was able to acquire two Lilies of his own in the hopes of cementing his position as King. The beautiful green- haired, green-tail finned Lily named Nirea had been selected as the first of Bastian’s Lilies while the pink- haired, pink- tail finned Marina had been selected as the second shortly afterwards .
Bastian had unsuccessfully tried to impregnate his Lilies and in desperation, had devised a scheme worthy of a Triton- it was a great deceit and highly immoral but he felt that it was justified. He had taken his two closest bodyguards, Ryel and Ryvan, and sworn them to secrecy about his intentions of securing his place on the Throne. He had roped the two guards into his scheme…
Marina and Nirea had no choice but to absolutely obey the commands of their Master. Nirea was given to Ryel as Marina was given to Ryvan. The two Mermen hopped onto the idea immediately knowing they would likely never secure mates of their own. Their relationships had been successful and both Lilies fell pregnant- Nirea with a boy and Marina with a girl.
Marina gave birth to her little Mermaid, a precious ‘Pearl’ in the making in the eyes of the Merfolk Society of Flora but Nirea’s child was immediately murdered for it was undesirable to bring a male child into that society already greatly suffering for their lack of female children. Nirea had fallen into a deep depression and developed a deep hatred for Marina.
So deep was her pain at losing her first and only child that it had awoken Nirea’s consciousness from the docile mind-state the brainwashing instilled in her at the Lily Institute to an awakened state that had led ultimately led her into turning Siren. Not long after, Ryel had turned Triton and they had kidnapped and tortured Marina for several days on end before they had been caught and promptly executed.
It was the willingness to see beyond the veil of her brainwashing prompted by the trauma she had endured all in the name of serving her Master that had truly awakened Marina’s consciousness… She realized that reality was no fairy tale- she was living in hell disguised as Heaven… However, she was intelligent enough to know that if anyone discovered that she was awake, she would soon be the one to face the Sun… She needed to escape and needed to accord her own daughter the freedom she had been denied all her life.
Marina had then begun to subtly manipulate Ryvan as the Master did not grant her the required time to heal from giving birth immediately insisting on she and Ryvan produce more heirs as soon as possible. Marina was always kind and sweet to Ryvan, playing into his own desires for love and a mate of his own. Her subtle influence on him slowly convinced him of the need to betray his Master.
She skillfully acted out the role of damsel in distress; claiming to have thoughts and feelings she was ashamed of heavily implying that those thoughts featured Ryvan. Ryvan took advantage of this to try and manipulate Marina into thinking that these forbidden thoughts and feelings revealed that she was meant to be his mate.
Marina also slowly begun to prime him to carry out favors for her for she knew when the time was right, Ryvan would do what she needed him to do- help her escape her hellish life with her life and soul intact…
Ryvan would soon turn against his Master by tricking the Regent that Marina had conceived their second child and convincing his Master to partake of the fruits of the Master’s favorite wine, the Lotus in celebration. Feeling elated, the Master overindulged in drinking wine which was dosed with sleeping potion…
Once the Master was knocked out entirely, the pair with their child cradled against her mother’s bosom, made their daring escape making sure to avoid looking too suspicious in doing so.
The pair had spoken of escaping to the Surface world together but hesitated as they begun the ascent to the unknown Surface World checking for threats to themselves consistently to avoid getting hurt. Every fiber of their being resisted the water pressure in their upward movement but they pushed forward until at last, they peered up into the night sky with their heads raised above water. They marveled at the stars they had never seen and coughed and heaved several times because of the sudden increase of oxygen from the air.
Ryvan scanned the area once his eyesight had fully recovered and noticed a lone figure in the forest surrounding them casually leaning up against a tree awaiting them.
“Who are you?” he asked the figure in Mermish- the only language he knew.
“A friend come to save you. Come with me. Sol shall be upon us soon,”
The figure looked up to the sky. “The Sun,”
“Then we cannot join you for the Sun shall destroy us,”
“What if I told you that I have a means to help you walk in the sun?”
“Then I’d ask you why you would want to help us and what possible means of payment you’d want in return for these means,”
“The only thing I want is for you and Marina to trust me enough to save your lives,”
“How- how do you know my name?” Marina asked the stranger perplexed.
“I have my ways,” said the lone figure.
Ryvan turned to Marina and their daughter nestled against her breast. He gave her a worried look wondering whether they should trust the lone figure in the forest.
“If I wanted to harm you, Ryvan, I would have already done so,”
“Are you a Seer of sorts?”
“No, but I am affiliated with some of the most powerful Seers of the Realm,”
Ryvan once more turned to Marina and she shut her eyes before stating, “We have more to lose if we stay here, Ryvan. For all they know, you and I have turned dark. They will surely execute us for desertion,”
“I shall go before you and our Cora then judge for yourself whether we can truly trust this stranger,”
Marina held on tighter to their daughter and nodded. Ryvan took a deep breath and swam towards the shore. The second he got out of the water, his brown fin turned into a pair of legs. He struggled adjusting to the unused limbs feeling embarrassed that the stranger was observing his flailing about. He had to crawl for a fair amount of time but managed to stand on his own two feet and faced the stranger head on.
The stranger’s face was concealed behind an Aqua Blue Cloak’s hood. The stranger withdrew some kind of necklace from a hidden compartment in her cloak and handed it over to Ryvan who moved quick and turned the stranger’s hand around roughly slamming her against the tree causing the necklace to fall to the ground. However, the stranger soon turned the tables against him with more force than he had used against her pinning him successfully.
“Who are you and how can you be so strong?” he asked her again in Mermish.
“Who I am exactly matters not. Sol shall rise in less than 5 lesser cycles and if you do not wear the amulet I have provided, it will get very uncomfortable for you, very fast. Don’t you want to save your family?” asked the stranger.
“How can I trust you when you cannot even tell me your name?”
“If I tell you my name, you will not come with me and if they catch you, you shall be executed. They won’t care that you aren’t agents of the dark,”
“How can you possibly know about all this?”
“Because I lived here before… Many cycles ago. Please, believe me. I only wish to help you and Marina and even little Cora and I’m the only one who can,”
“What is your price? What plans do you have for us?” Ryvan pressed on the stranger despite being the one restrained.
“That’s enough, Ryvan,” Marina stated placing her hand against his shoulder.
“Marina, why- why did you get out of the Ocean? I do not trust this- this stranger,”
“I do. I know who she is; she speaks the truth,”
“You know her name?”
“Yes. Are you not the former Lily Iara, my lady?”
The stranger let go of Ryvan. “You got me,” she said promptly removing the hood that covered her face.
TO BE CONTINUED…