Chapter 45: Moved On
Kaiken and his pod swim through the sea, with his mate Umiato by his side, and his daughter, Savarna by her side. And an empty space on his other side that he still has trouble ignoring.
It has been almost approximately 3 years since the banishment of their Merrick. Without the presence of the Adra Triton by his side, Kaiken feels a sense of imbalance - as if his right arm has been severed off. Merrick may have ceased to exist, but there in lies the problem - it has indeed unfurled a balance. It has been so long since he had to instruct his son to pay attention, tell him to KNOW, not GUESS. He still remembers the look defiance when he had to break his son's own trident in half, as punishment for becoming exiled.
And then there was that human. Kaiken still has no idea why he even put himself on the land in the first place, it's not like he could've go out and look for him - he doesn't know how to walk. And that human... The way he talked to him...
"I thought you would've been gone by now..." Said a young human male, with an older looking female right next to him. Both of them are looking at Kaiken, after he is in his human form. Why is this human talking to him? They've never met.
Just how much does he know about merfolk? "I know you can't talk to me," Adam said, "But just so you know, it's far from fair on how you judge your son."
"..." Kaiken scowled and glared at the human. He seems so brazen...
"If you think he's abandoned his identity, you're dead wrong," The man told him, "He's doing fine now, but he's miserable without his pod."
'What?' Kaiken felt a rush of anger in his face, 'Is this the human that... That HE has mated with?'
"I want you to know that." The human continued, "Or did that not occur to you because he was banished?" Kaiken's fist tightened around his trident, shaking with anger. Such blatant disrespect to a Triton!
"Whatever grudge you hold against him, you should know that it was never his fault to begin with. Even YOU should figure that."
If it were not for his possible affiliation with his former son, Kaiken feels a huge urge to throw his trident at this man's head before he can kill him into the sky.
'This was a mistake.' Kaiken thought to himself, 'I must return, or else my wrath will send me to the next life.' He growled as he turned, working his thick, strong arms around, and dipping himself into the ocean.
Not only did that human know of merfolk, but the way he talked at him... Such tongue from a young one merits a lot of anger from Kaiken. Know your place, that's his way. If he could walk and talk to humans, he would teach that impudent sky wretch a lesson in respecting stronger elders. Merrick would NEVER speak to him like that!
As he lead his pod, he signals deliberately ahead, turning the entire school of Navyn Tail merfolk to another direction as he could sense something huge and immobile. The pod followed their Triton's lead until they have arrived at a sunken human ship. Kaiken immediately assesses that it is a very old one - ships from old days are made of trees found on land, along with large sails that have been torn to shredded shrouds, while ships of modern times are made of a stronger material that does not rot in water so easily.
"We have found a lost sea-home of the humans!" Triton announced as he turned to his pod, "We may search this dying shell, and if time dictates, we may rest for the night within it."
The pod broke apart, and surveyed around the ship. Umiato and Savarna swam down to the ship, humming an eerie hymn, trying to feel any protective wards or energies on the ship - it looks untouched, but if another pod has come, and when they don't want to share their find, there's a chance that pod's Noita may have marked this wreck as their own, so no one else can touch it - a technique Savarna has learned recently, and has place upon her Sea Spot over in the Hawaiian waters.
Neither the Noita or Adra can feel any hostile energies implanted within, around, or upon the ship or sand, nor can they detect any residual auras that may have came from any other merfolk. Umiato sounded a melodic call, and the pod descended upon the ship.
Adra Savarna dipped into one of the ships, window, and found a lavender-shaded mermaid going through a chest she opened with small spiral shell.
"This human ship must be so old," She said as she hear feel Savarna approach her.
"Is that another one of those boxes?" The Adra asked. Her palms started to glow with a light, and she hovered over the other mermaid.
"Ah!" The lavender mermaid pulled her arm back, to see a sharp, rusty edge from the chest's metal framing at cut her arm.
"Careful, Rinami," Savarna said as one of her bright hands grasped onto her friend's arm. The water seeped into the cut, and ceased the blood seeping through as it closed.
Being more careful about the chest, Savarna floated up a bit more to shine the light in her hands to illuminate the contents of the chest.
"Amazing..." Rinami said as they gazed upon a pool of glittering gems and small, gleaming discs.
"This ship MUST be ancient," Savarna said as she reached a hand down, and plucked up a small ruby, "Ships in this era do not carry such artifacts as this."
"Oh, if only we can take all of this with us." Rinami said as she scooped up a load of the very old gold coins in the chest, and let them drift back down into the box.
"Or if only there was enough of these crystals," Savarana said as she tucked the ruby into her pouch, and plucked up a green emerald, "If I could have a lot of these gems, I could possibly make a crystal dome on my Sea Spot!"
"Oh, that would be so colorful!" Rinami cooed, "With your light, you can make it gleam and shimmer from the inside!"
"That would be unwise, Rinami" Came the voice of the Razirah. The long, grey merman drifted outside, the many strings and shells gently shaking on his body, keeping his trace of the whole pod intact.
"Why not?" Savarna said, "If I did, I COULD make a bright, beautiful shine inside an orb of crystals!"
"And thus, summon the interest of hungry predators." Denizyr said as he drifted off. The two mermaids pouted as they continued to rummage through the chest.
"... Ah..." Savarna picked up a blue sapphire. Refracting the light in her palms, specs of dazzling blue light shone in the blue gem.
Umiato looked at the blue light in the small room of the ship, sighing as her daughter played with the light in the jewel. It's been a long time, as well as painful, since her brother was banished from the pod. Savarna has grown so much since then.
The Noita gracefully swam into the room, where Savarna and Rinami turned to her, "Oh, Noita Umiato."
"Mother." The Adra said.
"May I have a moment alone, Rinami?" Umiato asked.
"Yes, Noita." Rinami said as she turned and swam forth from the hole in the ship.
Umiato drifted up to her daughter's side, and then released a ball of light from her own hand, which unlike Savarna's light, hovers freely in the water. She looks at the sparkling blue gem in her daughter's hand, "That is a very beautiful crystal, Daughter."
"Yes, it is..." Savarna answered, "... It's just like his eyes..."
"Your Father's, I wager?" Umiato said.
"No, Mother..." Savarna's eyes gazed down, "Brother..." She stopped making the sapphire gleam, and tucked it into her pouch, along with the ruby and emerald.
"How are you feeling, Daughter?" Umiato said, "I think of him often. Especially when we find a fallen ship." Umiato turned her head around, "He did always love finding these forsaken husks, with good reason, of course."
"I am..." Savarna sighed, "Better..." She picked up another jewel, making it glimmer and shine, "I too remember when Brother became so excited to see a dead ship." She smiled weakly, "I still remember that game he had. Hide-And-Seek, he called it." Merrick once learned this game from Adam, not that anyone from the pod would know. He insisted that he didn't invent the game, that he once played it with a few Adra Triton friends of his, but many of the meryin still love playing it.
"Yes..." Umiato produced a small, beautiful hand-mirror from her own pouch, "Remember this?"
"You still have that?" Savarna said, as she looked at her reflection in the small, flat glass.
"Of course." Umiato said, "I mend MY pouch," She said as tugged at a small hole on Savarna's bag, "I found this when you were very young. Your Brother was very fond of it years ago, and vowed to one day fine one just like it, so that he can give it to his mate on the red moon he found her..."
"I imagine he has, by now..." Savarna said, "I am well, Mother." She said, "I miss him a lot... But I confess... When he was with us, I did not know how to have friends. And now I have Rinami, and... His absence is a lot less painful for a long time now..."
"You have moved on past your pain," Umiato said, "But lest you forget the true treasure of what once was."
"Of course, Mother." Savarna said as she plucked up a few more gems, "I will never forget him..." Savarna turned, and nuzzled the Noita. "Thank you, Mother..."
"Without you to guide me... I would be hating him now..."
"I am happy to know this of you." Umiato said as she coddled her daughter, "If only your Father can see such reason."
Brishen swims along the ship, until he found a human-built portal. He looked at the metal-engraved symbols on the top of it, tracing his fingers along the indented markings.
A R M O R Y
"I wonder if there is such a thing as a translator of human symbolism..." He pondered as he looked at the letters, baffled.
Anyway, he looks to see the key of the wooden portal - a round orb of metal. Not sure if they should be keys though - these open the portal only half the time, and the other half of the time, they're stuck and he has to forcefully knock the doorknob off.
Brishen felt at the round knob, and attempted to turn it, growling as it stubbornly stayed locked. He took his spear, and jammed it into the rotting wood of the door. Cranking it harshly, until he was able to carve a jagged hole into the old portal, and pulled it open.
One of the orbs of light from the Noita hovered behind him, and illuminated the small room before him.
"By the depths..." He mumbled as he flowed the orb into the compartment. Lined in the room, are many assortments of human blades and spears! "Whoa..." He reached in, and picked up a dagger with a small antlered land animal engraved into the hilt.
He put the knife aside, and examined one of a few barrels. He opened it up, and found that it is full of strange black powder that emits a strong odor. He scooped up the old, water logged gunpowder, "A choking sand?" He wondered before capping the old container.
Brishen reached and picked up an old pistol from a shelf holding many of the same kind of gun. He held the barrel of the pistol, and shook it a little, "And what are these supposed to be?" His webbed finger found the trigger of the gun, and pushed it. The strange object clicked, but did absolutely nothing, "Is this some kind of ornate club?" He waved the pistol back and forth, "Then what's the hole for?" He said as he looked down the barrel of the gun, "A poison compartment, maybe?" He mumbled to himself, "Human objects are either very elaborate, or very pointless." The merman said shaking his head, as he put the pistol back onto its place on the rack.
"Theros Brishen! Theros Brishen!" Came a young voice. Brishen turned around, and swam out of the small room. Two very young mermaids and a little merman swim up to the green merman. He waved his tail to close the door to the room of blades, and turned his attention to the young ones.
"What is the trouble?" He asked them. Penina, Brishen's jelliscent mate, stopped as she swam, and hid aside, smiling as she watched his mate.
"We tried to hunt resting shark, but it destroyed our weapons..." The male meryin said as they ashamedly held the fragments of their tools.
"I-It tried to eats us too..." Said one of the young mermaids.
"When you try and sneak on a resting creature," Brishen said, "Karma will mirror upon you-"
"Unless you try and kill it first!" Said the young merman. Brishen sighed and shook his head.
"I once had such thoughts and strategy," He said as he held his wrist out, and showing an old, ugly scar he once gained from a nasty attempt at a cuttlefish when he and Merrick were once as young as these little hunters, "And it nearly cost me my hand."
The three young ones bowed their heads, looking ashamed, "... We're sorry, Theros Brishen."
"I wager you are," He said, "As the three of you should know better - none of the other members of the pod are hunting at this time, and even then, you three are still too young to hunt on your own. Remember the rule: We hunt when the Triton commands it."
"... We..." One of the little mermaids said, "We wanted to make you proud..."
"You must save your ambitions when we deem you ready," Brishen continued. He chuckled warmly at them, "When I was younger, I too had a dangerous taste for adventure, and it nearly almost killed me at every turn."
"But," The little merman said, "You are so powerful! Nothing can kill you!" Brishen chuckled at that.
"Not yet, anyway. Now I will keep this from your Mothers and Fathers for now, but remember the rules - Again."
"Yes, Theros Brishen." The three youngsters said as they bowed, and swam away.
Penina smiled as she drifted herself along, and over to Brishen's side, "Very impressive, my love." Brishen smiled more as he felt his mate's slick hands upon him.
"It still feels so... Strange... To be a Theros..."
"It is well deserved, Brishen." She said, "You are a prime example of the pod now."
Recently on the previous year, Brishen has been named by Kaiken, Umiato, and Denizyr, as a Theros of Hunt of their pod. An uncommon and respectable member of any pod, a Theros is one who is deemed worthy of teaching others - a prime example of honor and trust for the pod.
Meryin usually learn how to hunt, fight, scavenge, sing, charm, and so forth by their own parents. However, if any member of the pod is incredibly adept at a particular skill, the Triton, Noita, and Razirah anoint him as a Theron in front of the whole pod, where he or she will teach other meryin in that particular skill.
"I still don't feel so special..." Brishen said, "I just do as I can when I go to hunt. You should have seen how horrible I was at it when I was younger. If it wasn't for the former Adra Triton..." Brishen said, "Without Merrick... I wouldn't have been as fun or great as it is."
Penina turned, and loomed over to the armory, "Wow, you have found a spring of fortune, my love." She said as the metal edges glinted from the floating bubble of light.
"Yes," Brishen picked up one of the swords from the racks, "Certainly a wonderful trove for the arms of the pod."
"I am surprised you simply did not replace those meryin's weapons right here." She said as she held one of the ironclad spears.
"I was tempted," Brishen said, "I did want to brighten their faces with these weapons. However, when you reward mischief and mistakes, the value of teaching suffers."
"Hahaha," The translucent mermaid smiled as she turned Brishen's face by the cheek, "See? You ARE a Theros." He smiled.
"And just like that, there I go, losing myself, and becoming as smarmy and talkative as Denizyr. And here I swore I would NEVER become my enemy." He sighed as he waved the sword a few times, "I think I may even bar them from lessons for the time being - lest they get as hasty and reckless as I once was."
"When we have our own meryin," Penina said, "I cannot wait to see you teach him..." She said playfully.
"I fear for that, actually," Brishen jested, "If our child is ANYTHING like me, they will surely be as irresponsible and wild as I was."
"Hahaha, oh Brishen." Penina said as she drifted up and aloft.
Rinami and Savarna placed each other's hands onto the chest, having closed it, and the Adra Noita placing a protective seal upon the old trunk. After the wards were set, the Adra swam casually up, but spotted another shiny object.
"Ooh," The pearly mermaid swam down, and plucked it up - it's another one of those human short blades, a dagger? "Prettyyy..." The blade is short, and the handle has a pair of bird wings at the hilt, and the handle is encrusted with small gems, "This is coming with me." She said confirming.
"Hahaha, and what manner of tool is this?" Rinami said as she picked up a compass - the drawing type, one that is used to draw perfect circles. Savarna illuminated it with her hand.
"I do not know..." She said.
"It has sharp points..." The lavender mermaid said. She tried holding it like Savarna was holding her new dagger, but the tool still looks strange, "I do not think it is used for killing..."
"I say keep it anyway," The Adra said, "Maybe we'll find a use for it later."
Rinami nodded as she tucked the tool into her pouch, and the two of them swam out of the old office.
As the whole pod wandered and searched the ship, Triton Kaiken stayed out, keeping his keen eyes on the broad, open ocean. Everyone seems so content these days. Everyone in the pod enjoy their lives, just as they always have.
It really is as if Adra Merrick has never existed. Have they not realized that a vital part of them has been lost for so long? Do they not realize what that means? No Adra Triton...
Umiato gracefully swam up from below the deck. She spots the lone Triton afloat above the ship. She drifts herself up, and came behind her mate, "Why are you alone, Kaiken? Join us, we have found much in the dead vessel."
"I would rather not at this moment..." He answered, "I feel I must be alone..."
Umiato persisted. She swam around Kaiken, and moved his face to look at hers, "You, are very troubled, my love..." He stubbornly pushed his face away from her, and turned aside.
"I am content, Umiato." He said, "I merely prefer to be by myself..."
"Kaiken." Umiato swam around him again, "You are severely imbalanced inside... I understand why-"
"Stop..." He said, giving his love a glare.
"Do not take me lightly, Kaiken." Umiato said sternly. Kaiken growled silently at her, "I can feel the pod at peace with themselves, yet you are the only one with a storm inside of you." Kaiken growled lowly, "You insist that he does not exist anymore, yet since he has disappeared, the anger inside of your soul has not diminished."
"I do not wish to speak of it." He said dismissively, "Please leave me be."
Umiato paused from those words "... You know that is the problem."
"I no longer have a Son, Umiato." He said, "He chose his own fate, he chose to leave us behind."
"He did not, Kaiken." Umiato swiftly moved herself around, and placed her hands firmly upon his shoulders, "He fell in love with a human male so long ago. That was not his fault." His sapphire eyes stayed begrudgingly locked into her platinum eyes, "Even if he chose not to reveal his second crime, eventually, he would not be able to succeed the pod, as he would have not found a mermaid to be the Noita."
"... I know this." He said. Kaiken moved away from her again, and faced the open ocean once more, "... I realize that it would come to pass, even if he stayed with us..."
"Then why, Kaiken?" She asked, "Why do you still hold such contempt? Why do you still claim that he no longer exist?"
A tiny, white wisp came from Kaiken's eye as he closed them, "We have lost more than a vital part of the pod, my love. He was more than our Son, Umiato." He took a deep breath, "He was my legacy. He was a part of my soul..." The Noita swam up to behind him, "He constantly showed me so much promise as a Triton. Even as a meryin, our Son was perfect, from the sun he was born - he attained the best traits of both you and I. As I said once before, he is everything an Adra Triton should aspire to be. Everytime I looked at him, I knew he could be trusted to take over from me...
"And now..." His fist clenched, "When I think of the reality that he is gone forever... I cannot accept it... All of my hopes and time I had for that merman... Gone..."
"It will be alright, my love..." The Noita said calmly.
"You know as well as I do... He is the only Son we can ever have..."
"Even so," Umiato persisted, "Even with our Son exiled, when Daughter falls in love with a merman, he will become a Triton. And when it is time, her love will succeed the pod."
Kaiken sighed and shook his head, "Must I trust my pod in the hands of an unknown? A merman who I have never met... Leading my pod..."
The Triton's gills twitched, before he looked up. An extremely large object growls on the surface as it moves. Umiato can feel an abundance of auras inside the large, metal space.
"A human ship." Kaiken said with distaste.
"A live one as well." Umiato added.
"It is fortunate that we are moving the opposite direction," The merman turned around, and moved downward, "However, I will allow us to rest in the dead ship for the eve."
"Yes." She nodded as they both descended. Within an hour, the ship would have cleared the area.
Once down inside of the sunken ship, Kaiken continued to look out into the open ocean. It has been a few years since the exile of his son, Adra Merrick. Merfolk belong in the ocean, and on a normal scale, a merman or mermaid are physically unable to live on the land for more than 14 suns, or else they will suffer and die.
Out in the distance, Kaiken can now make out a disturbing image. A hybrid creature of a purple goat, slowly move its wide flippers and waving its tail up and down, with what looked like an Holsien sea turtle mermaid holding onto it. His very sharp eyes can see a distinct black marking on her arm.
"A Coshiton..." Umiato mumbled as she kept by his side, being able to see the residual energy that always looms in the mark.
"Yet another merciful death..." Kaiken muttered. "Umiato... Despite everything else, I truly fear for him..." The Capricorn and mermaid slowly fade away into the deep, dark blue, "On land, any merfolk will dry up and perish for more than 14 suns. And yet in the sea, a Coshiton can meet a calm end if it stays in the ocean..."
"You know there are places of water that a merperson can go if they so need to." She withholds the notion of her dear friend, Atarah, a human who lives in a healthy river, just open for their son... "Our Son is clever, my love. He would have found other ways to stay alive..."
"Hmm..." The Capricorn and mermaid had disappeared, "Either way... He is trapped..." He lowly responded. It's almost time for the pod to take rest.
"..." Umiato sighed sadly, "I am going to tend to Daughter." With that, she drifted off and away.
'...' Kaiken closed his eyes, and put his fist to his chest, 'O Wise and Shining Sea Mother Atargatis...' He prayed, 'Hear my soul and the resonance of my heart...' He breathed deeply, 'Watch over my Son...'
'If he yet lives... Protect him, and give him happiness...'
"Wa-HOOOO!" Merrick cheered along with the other guys in the party.
'I can't believe I'm doing this...' Adam thought as his hips swerved and grooved, wearing only some tight blue briefs with white trims on it. He is dancing in a Gogo cage, during a rocking Boy's Night party - first night of the gay cruise, it's all men in the lobby.
"YEAH!" Jamal hooted, "Shake it baby!" He roared at Nick, who is also in one of the stripper cages, wearing a shiny black thong.
'He looks a little too good at this...' Adam thought as he looked over at Nick. That Latino looks like he's having the time of his life, grinning and playfully shaking his ass for the pervy guys.
Adam's hands moved down, and pumped his hips as he moved his hands up his own thighs, before holding the back of his head and twirling his pelvis around. Merrick volunteered Adam to be one of the Gogo boys for the second half of the Boy's Night party - and by that, he had Jamal write Adam's name on the sign-up sheet.
Merrick's eyes dazzled as he watched Adam's body dance to the music - a male singer called Chris Salvatore. Adam, on the other hand, feels very embarrassed to be on display here - exposing himself by dancing in undies in front of a bunch of horny men around. He's almost too sheepish to dance, where it not some damn good music playing here.
'I swear, Merrick SOOO owes me a rimjob.' Adam vindictively thought as he moved suggestively to the rhythm of the music.
"I LOVE YOU, ADAAAAM~!" Merrick hollered as his boyfriend danced nonstop.
The cruise ship sailed on through the ocean, in the middle of the night, unaware of having moved right past a sunken vessel.