Aquata Cove Chapter 31: Without Him

The pod swims through the sea. More than half of the pod is in nervous anticipation; they are entering the very waters where they have lost their Adra Triton.

Brishen looks gloomily down onto the sandy bottom. Sending a signal, he can detect small prey hidden within the sand. He felt a tinge of sadness as he watched a crab creep along the floor, between the shells and over a few rocks.

===

The small green meryin spied upon a cuttlefish hovering over the sand. He sneers down at the fluttering side fins of the strange, flashing animal.

Brishen's gills twitched as he heard a signal from across from him. He peered over, and spotted a blue and silver meryin with a scallop shell and kelp around his head. The blue meryin lightly traced his short, three-pronged spear onto the sand, signaling he is in the right position.

The green one then shot up, and rang out a small battle cry!

"Brishen! No!" Adra Merrick signaled. Regardless, the green meryin through his spear at the cuttlefish, rather poorly, however. The cuttlefish suddenly jet itself away from the incoming spear, though it was easy enough to dodge to begin with.

The blue and silver meryin growled as he flourished out from the rock, and signaled a fearsome snarl at the cuttlefish. The aquatic creature quivered, and sped off in another direction. Brishen ignored his spear, and when after the cuttlefish with his bare hands!

"Your weapon, Brishen! It's going to escape!" Adra Merrick said as they pursued the cuttlefish quickly. Merrick threw his trident at the cuttlefish, alas missed my mere inches - though as young as his companion, his aim and tactics are stronger than any other meryin of their pod.

"Rrrrraaaa!" Brishen kicked forth, and sprang himself upon the cuttlefish! He gasped excitedly as the animal writhed under his hands, "I-I have done it! I caught my first catch!" He said while Merrick swam up to him with his spear, "Hold my spear for me while I take it to the others!" He said.

"Ok..." Merrick said as he watched his friend's webbed hands try to tuck under the cuttlefish, and lift it from the sand.

In that moment, the cuttlefish squirmed harshly, and latched itself onto Brishen's wrist!

"AAHHHHH!" He screamed as it bit down ferociously into his flesh. Adra Merrick unleashed a blood-curdling shriek, focused solely onto the cuttlefish. The cuttlefish shook violently as it immediately released Brishen's wrist, and shot away from them both.

"A-Adra Merrick..." Brishen whimpered as he held the wrist that issued blood.

"Quick! We must go back to my Mother! She will heal you!" Adra Merrick said as the two meryin quickly swam away.

===

Brishen frowned as he saw a few cuttlefish swim along the sand, followed by a weak chuckle. Both of them got in trouble on that day - both of them having been too young to hunt, and resulted in him getting hurt.

He has no idea why he ignored Merrick's advice half the time - the reason they became friends was so that he can get better at hunting. Hunting was always so fun though. Whether Brishen succeeded or screwed up, he loved every part of it. More often than not though, Merrick would always have to bail him out of a very tight spot.

And now that Merrick is gone, everyone in the pod has noticed Brishen's skill has elevated considerably. Now that he doesn't have a best friend anymore, the fun and the thrill of the hunt has disappeared.

Merrick has always been there for his friend. He was there to prevent a shark from devouring him. He was there to help find him a good courtship gift for his mate, Penina. He always vouched for him when he did make a successful kill. He always consoled him when he failed at a hunt, before he got better.

Brishen closed his eyes and bowed his head. Merrick was always there for him, yet he never thought to be as good a friend as he was, never knowing Merrick was holding such a secret, or having to carry that kind of a burden, and acting as if he was fine.

Soon, Triton Kaiken sensed another pod coming their way. A pod of Holsien merfolk - beings of turtles, to be precise. When Adra Merrick was still in existence, he would have to quiz him as to what could be up ahead. Merrick would be correct for most of the time, but he always made it sound like a guess. That was a habit Kaiken tried to break Merrick out of doing - a Triton must not only always be vigilant, but also must see any and everything that is ahead of the pod.

===

"Son, signal ahead. What do you sense?" Triton Kaiken inquired. The young merman narrowed his eyes, and sent a wave of subtle sound forward. The signal traced back to him as a multiple of other merfolk. They sound firmer in form than that of the other merfolk in his pod. It's a familiar feeling, as they have encountered other merfolk of that kind.

"... I think it is a pod of Holsien merfolk?" Adra Merrick responded.

"Do you think? Or do you know?" Kaiken asked firmly, "You must know what is ahead of us at first sight."

"... Yes, Father," Merrick replied, still uncertain about who are what lay beyond them.

"You are correct, however," Kaiken said, "It is indeed a pod of Holsien merfolk. Now, will you tell me what type of Holsiens they are?"

"... I-" Merrick caught himself, "They are turtle shell merfolk."

"Correct. And we are now to approach them." Kaiken stated as he led his pod towards the pod of sea turtle merfolk. They appeared to be that of humanoid shape, with their torsos stout and formed with the shells on their backs, their arms and legs are flat for paddling in the water.

Kaiken signaled to the pod, prompting them to turn their attention to his pod. They moved in formation to greet the pod of Pisciens, before the two pods have met.

The Holsien Triton swam forth. A large, black and white sea turtle merman, with four old gashes on his shell, a shock of spiral shells along both wrists and ankles. While he holds his own trident in one thick flipper-like hand, he put his other hand onto the shaft of his trident, and held it out. Kaiken took his trident, and held it in the same fashion and touched the tridents in an X fashion.

"I, Triton Kaiken of the Piscien merfolk, greet you peacefully, in the name of Guardian Leviathan." He said.

"And I, Triton Olaroc of the Holsien merfolk, greet you peacefully, in the name of Guardian Kraken, so let it be," The Holsien Triton lowered his trident, "But must we be so formal, Kaiken? We have known each other since the days of youth." He asked.

"It is tradition, Olaroc, you know that." Kaiken retorted.

"And is this your Son? He has grown since I last saw him. I hardly recognized him."

"This is my Son, Adra Trition Merrick, yes." Kaiken said.

"It is an honor to meet you, Triton Olaroc."

"I am in remorse for your Son, then," Olaroc jested, "Be warned, young Adra," He said, turning to Merrick, "This Father of yours was stern with me when we were of your age."

"Where you not so complacent when we were young," Kaiken said with a smirk, "Come, do you have items of trade?"

"I do. In the meantime, perhaps my Komeko can be acquainted with your Merrick?" He said as he motioned to his own son, a sunshine yellow turtle merman, holding his own short trident.

"First, we trade. I have not taught my Son the act of exchange," He replied. Merrick pouted as his shoulders drooped, to Olaroc's amusement.

"As I said," He chuckled as Merrick reformed himself.

===

"And I, Triton Kaiken of the Piscien merfolk, greet you peacefully, in the name of Guardian Leviathan, so let it be," He said as he and Olaroc exchanged the greetings.

"It is good to see you, my friend." The sea turtle said, "My Son has looked forward to playing your Merrick," He said with a smile, "Where is your Adra Triton?" Kaiken sighed, and turned his head.

"Adra Merrick has ceased to be, Olaroc." He said.

"He... Has perished?" Olaroc asked, looking concerned for his friend, "I am sorry-"

"No. I mean, he has forsaken his existence," Kaiken said bitterly. Umiato frowned as she took his arm.

"Kaiken," She said firmly, before turning to the sea turtle, "Our Son is Coshiton. He has been banished."

"Ohhh..." Olaroc said, "That is a shame. He was a splendid one..." He said, "What has he-"

"I wish not to discuss it!" Kaiken snapped, "There is no Son to talk of now." Umiato shook her head as she swam away.

Kaiken insists on thinking of Merrick as a ghost now - no, not even a ghost. The Triton speaks of him as if he never had existed, and that is what hurts her the most. He DOES exist, and to imply otherwise is a very cruel thing to do, especially to someone like Merrick. Though he was the Adra Triton, it always seemed like he took after her.

Though he was the finest hunter of the pod, and so formal around Kaiken, Umiato feels his aura far softer than that of Kaiken's. Kaiken's energy is rough, callous, bold, while Merrick's energy is flexible, cooler, more balanced in nature. And though Savarna is young, Umiato can still read that her aura is more similar to that of her father's.

She loves her children both equally, but it has wounded her the most to lose the son that is most compatible with her.

'... I should have seen this coming...' Umiato told herself, 'Somehow... I must have known he was hiding from me...' She held back a tear as she swam further, 'Was he so good at masking his inner pain and deception? Or did I blind myself...?'

===

"Mother..." Merrick said as they swam through a forest of kelp, "There has been something that has been bothering me... It is about Arnaav... That Coshiton..." He said, rather hesitantly.

"What is it?" Umiato said.

"... Why was Father so... Harsh with him? I have never seen him display such wrath... And to a meryin like that..."

"Your Father is very strict when it comes to the guidance of merfolk."

"Yes... I know..." Merrick said as he and Umiato tugged and severed at bundles of kelp to bring to the pod, "Why, though? Arnaav said his crime was playing with a human girl. He did not hurt anyone; he did not even know he was breaking a Sacred Law. You saw how old he was, he is no older than Sister. And yet Father bellowed at him as if he cursed the Sea Mother."

"I agree with you, Son." The Noita said. Merrick whirled around, and beamed up at her.

"You do?"

"Yes..." She said, "To be Coshiton, means to not exist in the eyes of merfolk. Whatever they have done, it was in violation of the Sacred Laws. Your Father does not care to know their story. All he knows is that they have been banished for an unforgivable crime, and they deserve no mercy."

"But..." Merrick said, "That is not fair!" He said, "All Arnaav did was fetch toys for a human child! He did not deserve the rage Father gave him!"

"Once again, I agree."

"Would he be so wrathful were I a Coshiton?" Merrick asked.

"I am afraid so..." Umiato said. She blinked as she sensed a brief quiver in Merrick's aura, "Son..." She said, "Is there something else that is troubling you?"

"What?" Merrick said, his aura now reverting to a normal pulse, "Why do you-" Then there came a strained scream. Both of them gasped before the Merrick loomed out and wove between the kelp stalks.

"Son!" Umiato called out. She let down the kelp and drifted in the same direction as Merrick. She glided along the kelp, and smelled a hint of blood. The Noita quickly undulated herself until she located the Adra. She gasped softly as he is down by a hippocampus. The horse-like fish neighs weakly as a crimson cloud hovered from its side. Merrick turned to Umiato, his eyes wisping with tears.

"A shark was biting into it," He said, his voice trembling, "I made it go away, please, Mother. Can you heal it??"

Umiato smiled softly as she lowered down, "Yes, I can mend him..." She then placed her hands onto the dying animal.

===

With not much else to do, Savarna swims along the reef. She remembers this spot where she attacked that human.

Savarna looks up at the surface when she feels a familiar aura up above.

"... Here he is..." The Adra Noita frowns as she sees the image of her long-forsaken brother. Standing there, appearing that of a human. White twinkles outline her eyes as she barely recognized his appearance; seeing him in human form is disheartening enough, but he is also wearing sails and draperies around his body, as if hiding himself from the ocean.

"No..." She muttered as seeing Merrick deepened her anguish, "It... It is just as Father said..." Savarna said to herself, "He has forsaken himself as a merman..."

Up on the wavering surface, she can see the sight of the human walking up behind Merrick, "He is..." Savarna's heart filled with dread as she saw Merrick turn and kiss the human, feeling a purge of repulsion from witnessing this, "He gave himself to the land... To the humans..." Savarna clenched her pearly fist as her insides churned with sorrow and hatred.

"So my Brother HAS died..." The Adra Noita told herself, "Fine... I hope the Radiant Land Father Mithras makes him very happy." She said bitterly as she turned herself around, and kicked her tail, crying wisps of tears as her heart cracked a little more, once again.

===

"Brother!! Brother, where are you?!" Savarna called. The sirens have all been slain by the pod - a very dicey battle, but the pod was able to pull through with moderate damage. Her trace-shell in her headband kelp is glowing and vibrating against her forehead, but she ignores it.

Last she has seen, Merrick was fighting a siren, but it was leading him astray from all the others. She heard a melodic shriek a few minutes ago, which has led her towards one direction: a massive, black, ominous cloud.

The Razirah has told stories about such a dark fog: the Shroud of Death. When the world is wounded, it bleeds its black blood into the sea, and poisons all that enter into it.

"Adam..." Savarna gasped as she heard a weak, feeble voice amidst the blackness. She darted up, but found no opening in the black cloud. She looped to and fro, looking for any sign of Merrick.

"Brother!" She called out, centering the source from inside the Shroud.

"Aaa... Dahh..." Came the voice again.

"I'm coming, Brother!!" Holding out her webbed hands, the palms began to radiate a gravitational force into the fog. With her arms held out in front of her, the mermaid swam forth.

The black fog shifted and moved out of her way as she braved the darkness of the earth's blood. "Brotherrrr!" She called out in a hushed tone - somehow, she feels that she might perish if she's too loud in the Shroud of Death, "Brother, where-" She gasped before she ducked down.

There, an alien creature swims in the blackness. It appears to be a human, but it has strange fins on the ends of its bottom limbs, and seems to be wearing strange bubbles on its eyes - it looks more like a mutant siren, but it's not singing at all. She watched as the human moved through the oil, its lower appendages paddling one at a time, and stopped at a floating merman. Tears welled in her eyes as she recognized the blue and silver Piscien.

"(Brother!)" She whimpered, shaking with emotion as she also spotted a small cloud of blood coming from Merrick's mouth and gills, "(Leave him alone!)" She uttered as the human put its hands on the Adra Triton. Fear and anxiety kept her anchored to the spot, from taking action in charging in while the human wrapped his arms around Merrick, and took him away from the spot.

"No... No!" She strafed in the water, turning, and swimming as fast as she can while still shielding herself from the fog. It's like an invisible maze - there are no visible obstacles, yet it is hard for her to find her way out of it. Could this be the Shroud of Death trying to keep her?

No! Her brother needs her! She can't let the blood of the earth get to her now!

Wincing, she channeled more energy into her hands, forcing the water all around her to spiral away and filter from her, until she could see deep blue instead of black.

She whirled around as she desperately swam away from the massive darkness, "Brother! BROTHERRR!" She called out, spinning in all directions until she spotted the far away human. "Brother!" She kicked her tail as hard as she could, and sped off toward that human.

Her tail waved up and down, letting out a small yelp as she saw the human and Merrick ascend up to the surface.

"NOO!" She exclaimed as she accelerated, until she neared what appears to be a floating rock. It's not at all jagged like one - it is curved from both sides with an arc down the middle.

Just before she could do anything, the mermaid gasped and backed away as a rumble came from the large, bobbing object, "By the depths, what is it doing?!" The large object then moved. It moved in a half circle, and started to speed off in a direction.

"NOOO!" She screamed as she swam forward to follow the thing.

While vigorously swimming, Savarna noticed the trail of foam and waves the rumbling object left in its wake. She also took note that this thing, whatever it is, is too fast for her. She groaned and wept as she kicked her tail as hard as she could, panting as all she could see as he kept her chin up is the trail of the object as it got further and further away from her.

Using her magic, Savarna sent an invisible current to make the water trail remain as it is, "I will not lose my Brother!" She declared as she powered through the water, following the paralyzed trail of wash.

~~~

Panting, exasperated, the young mermaid drifted to the soft, sandy bottom of a tidal beach. Every inch of her is aching from both the exertion of swimming nonstop, and the weakening sensation of overusing her magic in order to follow the trail. She has been following the trail for so long, she knows the sun is about to sleep, and the moon is about to awaken.

She can still sense Merrick's aura nearby. She's close. She can't give up now, she's come too far.

"I'm coming... Brother..." Savarna moaned as she grabbed the reef with her hand, and pulled herself up from the sand, "I'm coming..." Her tail is too weak to swim anymore, so she must rely on her upper body strength, though her body and spirit are almost burned out from all of the effort.

The Adra Noita's gills closed as she broke the surface. Grunting and moaning, the mermaid maneuvered herself on the rocks, and soon found herself on top of a large rock, where she laid herself down for a short reprieve.

It was not until a few minutes before she realized she's not alone.

"... God..." She gasped as she heard a voice, "Or, Sea Mother..." The mermaid shook as she peered over, and spotted a human on the dry sand, "Whatever's up there... Please..." Savarna pushed her webbed hands onto the stone, ready to dive right back into the sea, "Give me something... Anything... Don't do this to him..."

Minutes pass by, and the sun is setting. As Savarna watched this human, she can see the massive anguish inside this human's aura. He is feeling great sadness, like that of a breaking heart.

Do such monsters as these have hearts?

The human wept as he pushed himself to his feet, and then saw her. Savarna moved backward quickly when he suddenly advanced toward her, "Wa-Wa-Wa-Wait!" The human stammered as he held up his hands. Savarna stopped, but her fin is hanging over the rock, ready for her to drop into the water at a moment's notice.

"Please, don't go... I need your help..." The human said. Savarna blinked and tilted her head. Help? This human wants her to help him? "It's ok, I'm not gonna hurt you, just please listen..." Savarna hesitated - if she says one word to him, she's as good as gone. So long as he stays his ground she should be safe.

"Do you understand me?" He asked. There was a short pause before Savarna slowly nodded, "D-Do you know Merrick??" The mermaid nodded again. This human DOES have her brother! What does he want with him??

"H-He's the Adra, right? Adra Merrick?" She nodded again, confirming that. He knows of their world. Who IS this man?!

"He's sick, he's VERY sick! He was swimming in the uh..." The human said, snapping his fingers, "Uh... The oil, he was swimming in oil... Oh!" If Merrick is sick, than Umiato can just heal him-

"The blood of the earth? Cloud of - No, the Shroud of Death?" Savarna gasped again as her eyes began to water with glittering white tears. "He tells me that there isn't a cure, but please..." That is true... Even with all her power... The Noita is not able...

"Please... Talk to me..." The human persisted. Savarna's eyes stayed locked on the human as he spoke to her, "Is there way to save him? Do you know anything that might help? ANYTHING at all???" She stayed silent, slowly sliding away from the rock, "Please say something-" He took one step, Savarna whirled around, and dove into the water, "NO WAIT!"

SPLASH!

The mermaid waved her burning tail up and down with forced effort. Moaning as she also used her hands and arms to pull herself forward.

"Moh... Mother..." She groaned, "I have to find Mother!" She said as she swam, "She will know what to do!"

If only she could signal sea creatures like mermen, she wouldn't be so sore.

===

'After all I have risked for him...' Savarna thought, 'After everything we have been to each other,' White tears continued to wisp and cloud from her eyes, 'He has turned his back to the sea... He has abandoned the Sea Mother... He has forgotten us!'

As Savarna swam swiftly from the reef, she senses the presence of her mother nearby. He glanced to see the larger mermaid swimming to her, but she tries to ignore her.

"Daughter..." Umiato said after she was close enough to be heard, "Where were you just now?"

"Nowhere." Savarna answered, rather shortly, "I was only observing the sleeping sun."

"... You are lying, Daughter." Umiato replied.

"NOW you know the truth...!" Savarna muttered.

"What was that, Daughter?" The Noita asked sternly.

"NOW," Savarna said in anger as she turned to Umiato, "You know the truth," The young mermaid glared at Umiato with wrath and almost disgust, "Brother has done the forbidden for so long, and NOW you know truth from lies?" The mermaid asked bitterly.

"Ease your tongue from me, Daughter," Noita Umiato said firmly, "Your Brother masked his pain well-"

"You are the Noita, Mother!!" Savarna exclaimed as she turned around to face her, "You could have seen his lies! You could have stopped him! And now he is gone forever!!" The angry Adra snarled at her mother as white wisps came from her eyes.

"Daughter..." Umiato said, wincing from her daughter's outburst.

"He has disappeared from us, Mother! How could you have not see the truth he was hiding?! You could have forbid him from leaving the pod's sight! And now he does not exist anymore-"

"SILENCE!" Umiato snapped. The younger mermaid flinched as a sudden fury overcame Umiato, one she has never seen before on her. The Noita angrily swam up to the Adra, "Your Brother has NOT disappeared! Your Father may refuse his existence, but do not you EVER forsake your Brother!" Savarna gasped as she looked at her mother, "You, who would sacrifice EVERYTHING just to see him again!" Umiato said, "I don't EVER want you to forget that! I NEVER want you to forget when you would trade your life for him!"

"Mother... He does not-"

"Daughter," She put her hand onto the mermaid's cheek, "He did not willingly choose to leave us. The Sacred Laws are absolute. Given the choice, he would have stayed."

"Father... Father said..."

"Your Father does not understand," Umiato said, "He does not realize the importance of circumstance... But you know in your own heart that your Brother will never forget you..."

Savarna whimpered as she drifted to her mother, and held onto her. Umiato put her arms around the young mermaid as well, holding her gently as they floated in the water.

"I want him back, Mother..." Savarna wept, "I want him back..."

"I know... I miss him too..."

~~~

"Hey you~" Adam said as he put his arms around Merrick. The blonde smiled as he turned his head and kissed Adam.

"Hi, love," He responded as he put his hands onto Adam's arms as the human leaned on him.

"What're you up to out here all on your own?" He asked. Merrick sighed and moaned quietly as he looked over the sunset.

"It's been almost a year... Since..." Merrick mumbled, feeling a little emotional and shaky.

"Yeah... I know..." Adam said as he glanced at the heart-design mark on the base of Merrick's neck.

"I miss them, Adam..." Merrick said as he gazed longingly onto the yellow-blue sparkling ocean, "I miss the sea, Adam... I long for the times of swimming with my pod through the ocean. We have been through so much adventures, so many memories..." Merrick sniffled as he felt Adam nuzzle him, "I miss hunting with my friend..."

"You mean the one who wanted to be the greatest hunter in the sea?"

"Yes... His name is Brishen... He became my friend so that he can become better at hunting... He was always so rash and reckless... Half the time, I'd have to save him from choosing too strong a beast to hunt..." Merrick's eyes watered as he looked over the ocean, "I wanted to see him bring down mighty foes... Now that I'm gone, I truly hope he has not been hunted by his prey..."

Adam chuckled as he slipped his hands into Merrick's shirt so he could cuddle closer behind him and feel his smooth skin.

"I miss my Mother..."

"I don't doubt that. Even to a human like me, she was very nice," Adam said, "She trusted me with you when you fell ill. Still kinda wondering how she was able to walk, being a mermaid and all."

"She's a Noita. Noitas are very capable of learning many things, even that of outside of their own world..." Merrick said, "My Mother... She is the wisest mermaid I will ever know... She is always so gentle and soft in spirit... Even when I was banished, she wasn't angry with me like Father was..." Merrick wiped his eyes, "I feel that... I let her down most of all..."

"If she loves you as much as you say, then there is no way you could ever let her down, Merrick," Adam said softly, "Parents always want what's best for their children," Merrick whimpered as he lowered his head, "Your mom loves you, Merrick..."

"..." Merrick sighed as he looked back to the ocean, "I even miss my Father..."

"Really." Adam said, "Even him?" Merrick chuckled weakly at that.

"I know... As stern a merman as he was, he has always been able to protect us. I wouldn't be half the merman I am now if he was not my Father. He was ignorant though. He thought he always knew better than anyone else, and would not hear otherwise. The only one he would really listen to is Mother... The way he reacted when he found out about you..." Merrick frowned as he looked over the ocean, "And when I was banished... He looked at me as if I betrayed the sea itself... As if I tried to kill our own kind..."

"That's a little unfair. All you did was fall in love," Adam said as he held Merrick close, "It's not your fault, you know."

"To him, that is as bad as any betrayal. He is very strict and conservative about the idealism of us merfolk," Merrick explained, "But you know what hurts me the most?"

"Hm."

"... My Sister..." Merrick said as he felt a tear roll down his face.

"Ahh... She's the one that attacked me, right?"

"Yes... She... She thought that if she could kill you, I could come back to the pod. She even said that I would find a mermaid to mate with on the next red moon..."

"I take it that wouldn't have worked in any case, would it?" Adam asked. Merrick shook his head.

"No, on both accounts. Once a Coshiton is cast from the pod, there is no going back. And mates of merfolk are for life. If I were to lose you..." Merrick paused and held Adam tighter, "There would be no one else for me..."

"She must really love you, sweetie..." Adam said. Merrick nodded.

"We were so close... There wasn't anything I wouldn't be willing to do for her..."

A pause came by as the two men stood on the small cliff, "I can feel her..." Merrick said, "She's nearby..."

"Your sister?" Adam asked, raising his eyebrows, "She's here???" Merrick nodded.

"I can sense her presence... She's moving away though..."

"Well what you waiting for??" Adam said, "Why don't you go say hi to her??"

Merrick took one step away from Adam. He walked a few steps out, but stopped. He feels so tempted to leap into that ocean, and see his pod again. The very thought of it brings him to tears, to see the family of Piscien merfolk see him once again. To apologize to his Father, to embrace his Mother, to hunt with Brishen once more, to play with Savarna after so long...

Merrick put his foot down, and bowed his head.

"... Merrick? What's wrong? Don't you want to see them again?" Adam asked. He winced as Merrick brought his hands to his face as he started to gasp and cry, "Merrick??" Adam strode up to Merrick, "Heeey, heey, what's wrong??"

"I can't..." Merrick wept as he put his held onto Adam, "I can't go back... I can't see her... I can't see my Sister..."

"Why not??" Adam asked as Merrick became more upset.

"Sister... She's too young... She doesn't understand..." Merrick whimpered, "When I was banished... She begged me not to leave... She tried to keep me there... Hearing her cry and scream is more than I can bear..." He said, "If I go and meet her now, she'll beg me to come back..." Merrick tried to hold back sobbing, "I can't... I can't do it... I can't take it..."

"Alright, Merrick..." Adam said as he rubbed his lover's back, "It's ok... I'm here for you..." Adam said. Merrick composed himself as he felt his man touch and caress him tenderly. He took several deep breaths as he held close to him. He wiped the tears on his face, and sighed.

"... I'm fine now..." Merrick said.

"You sure?" Adam asked with concern, "There's nothing wrong with-"

"It's ok, Adam..." Merrick interjected, "I just need to distract myself..."

"Alright, sweetie," Adam kissed Merrick before back up, "Come on, lets go play some games."

"Right..." Merrick replied. They took a few steps, before Merrick stopped.

The merman felt a wave of heat come over him. He groaned as his surroundings started spinning in his head. His sense of balance toiled away for a moment as a dizzy spell swarmed in his brain.

"Ahhh," He hissed and moaned as he knelt down, feeling a spell of cold AND heat wash over him. He coughed as Merrick experienced a hint of dryness throughout his form. He clenched his eyes shut to stop the spinning and the disorientation, and trying to keep himself steady.

Taking a few deep breaths, Merrick forced this sudden unpleasant sensation out of his state of being. Shaking his head, Merrick looked up, and saw that Adam is way ahead of him. Merrick groaned as he forced himself up, still quivering from the weird sensation, and ran up to catch up with his human.

 

Feare

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