The war ended long ago, and a new power had risen, King Ryker the rich as he had become known. The shift in the world of men had seen the fay folk withdraw, a land which was once plentiful and full of trade now done only in secret. King Exos had been killed and his bloodline decimated, tales of what happened to those aided them spread throughout the lands. A seer had come to the king giving him a warning that a group of strong and magical beings would destroy him, the seer never left the castle and so the king turned his attention to the magical beings throughout the land with the decree stating that they were to be destroyed.
One village by the river on the out skirts of an elven city, took the risk depending on the elves skills in medicine and craft to survive. One man by the name of Silvius often wondered into the woodland realm, the elven children loved the wizard magic. As the years passed, he soon won the heart of the lady of these woods, Lady Melina. A tall slender woman with hair the colour of browning Autumn leaves and eyes as green as emeralds. As their love for each other grew, Melina knew that her people would never accept a man as their lord and yet…
Silvius lay awake, the early morning sun breaking through the curtain, he looked at his beloved Melina asleep dressed all in white, her hair like fire from the suns warming glow a small smile curled in the corner of her soft pinkish lips as she lay dreaming. His hand brushed her shoulder running down her arm to find a mass of curly hazel hair all tangled of their daughter Nereida. The child lay with her leg over her mother and her little hand twisted in her mother’s hair, Silvius laughed as he often did, at the sight of his daughter sound asleep between them.
Nereida was both elven and human, she had the curiosity of humans and the wisdom of the elves, but it came at a cost for she would never be accepted by either of her heritage and no one understood her. With the way the world had turned Melina had feared that to keep her daughter within the city would cause her to be hunted by the kings men and their hounds, an evil she couldn’t protect her daughter from, she made the heart breaking decision to leave her in the care of her father in the little river village. Melina was however a doting mother and could not bare to be without Nereida, and so every day she would take her into the woods to teach her the ways of the elves. Her daughter had a natural flare for magics and clearly understood nature well. While she could not draw or play music, she could certainly take in its beauty and enjoy it, Silvius made sure his daughter understood and had the skills needed to survive in the world teaching her to fish and hunt, use her hands but most of all expand her knowledge of magic. The family would live in peace and joy but all things in this land Ryker would see it gone.
The years passed slowly for the elves, but Nereida it was quick and as time would have it, she neared her 20th year and unlike her peers it showed. Her father was gone now along with the river village and its people, Ryker’s hounds and men had seen to that, the morning of the attack Melina had taken her daughter to the woods like she always did upon returning Nereida had seen something that still haunts her dreams to this day. Her mother had been so consumed by grief that she walked into the river and if it had not been for her daughters screams, she too would have met a terrible fate. The lady took her daughter to the city to be raised among the elves, they took pity on the girl but still did not accept her, causing her to return to the ruined village for comfort. Nereida could find no peace and yearned for more, there was nothing in the elven lore which could quench her thirst and more time on her own gave her the chance to practice her magic, she longed for peace to no longer having to hide and the suffering of the world to be over.
Melina found her daughter in the village now alive with critters of the fey, tonight was different she handed her daughter a large package wrapped in leaves.
“take this my child…. Someday your greatness will outshine those stars. I see you on a great adventure, but you should seek out the help of a dragonbourne with scales as white as the fallen snow”
She cupped her daughters face in her long fingers gently kissing her forehead and wished her goodnight. Melina withdrew into the trees and as she gazed upon her daughter, she knew in her heart that it was for the last time. Nereida settled herself and opened the package, inside lay enough provisions to last a week, jumping to her feet she began walking the whole time an internal argument of all the reasons she shouldn’t go coupled with all the reasons she could. It was then she realised that she had walked all the way to the border that for years her father had warned her never to cross…. A sudden rush filled her body as she took that step into the unknown, the guilt supressed by the building excitement she now felt.
Three days of walking would bring her to the sea and its menacing cliffs leering over her, she had to choose to go back or climb. Filled with determination she began her accent, but the weather grew unkind and a great storm set in fast. Her mind raced, filled with the horror stories of the villagers who told of trolls in the cliffs praying on the weak. Crashing waves, cracking lightening, and pounding rain, Nereida hands frozen and slippery from the rain. Great boulders began to fall, and fear of trolls consumed her, panic took its deathly grip on her heart as she scanned the darkness for help. a light or was it?… there it was again she crawled pulling herself in the direction as more boulders fell a burst of strength saw her dart into the mouth of a cave. She lay there, the hammering noise of the rain echoing around her as it bounced off the walls, she panted glancing up to see little lamp like eyes staring at her, but the bats didn’t seem to mind her presence.
Nereida found her feet soon enough and sneaked deeper into the cave, finding nothing but a glowing blue pool at its heart. Picking up a piece of drift wood she willed the end to light with fire, then she huddled around it for warmth as the tiredness set in and the thoughts of giving up filled her head.
“you have only just begun”
A male voice filled the cavern, Nereida filled with panic scanned around holding her torch up to help but there was nothing to be found. Uneasy she sat down, the pool seemed to be growing brighter or was its tiredness, she couldn’t take her eyes from it and eventually curiosity took over and she crept towards it edge…
The water burst forward wrapping itself around Nereida in a tight embrace pulling her down. The icy water shocked her system, the surface pulling away from her as she wildly tried to pull herself to its mocking surface. Nereida grew tired her legs and arms filled with pain with ever pull and still the water holds, her lungs now burn with the need for air. The taste of salt water hits her tongue and burns her throat, as the aching body gives in her final thought
“I will do anything to end the suffering of the world”
Air rushed into Nereida lungs like the waves that had pulled her in, short breaths burned like fire. She found herself on her hands and knees under the water but breathing like on land. The quivering water that surrounded her was hording its mighty power…. and it came again the voice.
“come my child there is much to discuss”
Sitting in a throne of gold was an older man but the body of an octopus.
“your name…. you’re the god of the sea…Aruna my dad told tales of you”
“smart man he was but to business”
“I’m yours now?”
“well child you don’t have to be, one click of my fingers and you can return to drowning”
Nereida full of concern was careful with her words
“what will you have me do?”
“nothing…. Well one day I will ask you to enter a body of water and well you will never return”
The old man laughed
“dear child no… but to live here, with me”
Tear ran down Nereida’s cheeks
“how long do I have up there?” she pointed to the surface.
“I can’t be bargained with…oh you were… I heard your thoughts, and someone should wash your mouth out. But now you said you would do anything and here I am offering”
“I didn’t… not what I meant…. What do I get in return?”
The god stood up and bobbing along on his tentacles towards her he spoke in a tone that was as soothing as the surrounding waters tune
“ah well I will give you the power and knowledge you seek to end the suffering, I will guide and teach you and I will gift you this…”
He clicked his fingers and before her a great staff appeared.
“you will become great and do amazing things in this world, with the help of some soon to be friends”
The god nodded, then he opened his muscular arms wide awaiting a response.
Nereida walked over examining the staff, as she grew closer, she felt a power ripple through her body and without thinking she reached out and grabbed it. Panic filled her “no” and she let it go
“well…you let me know what you decide I can and will wait for you”
The water grew dark and the only light came from the staff, it was only now that she realised that even though she was cold her clothing was dry.
“well Nereida you have got yourself into this perhaps with his knowledge and power you can get yourself out of it or the dragonbourne can”
She kicked a giant shell screaming on frustration as she grabbed the staff again, her skin connected and a surge of energy blue in color seeped into her skin and then bursting from her in the form of a giant octopus. She broke the surface surrounded by the creature, causing the bats to flee into the morning sun.
Once on the shore the blue octopus evaporated into her chest as Nereida fell to her hands and knees she gasped for air, sorrow taking hold. Nereida lay crying as the voice of Aruna filled the cavern once more
“head East child that is where you find the help you seek”
Anger and determination filled her soul, as she pulled herself together and once more began her ascent up the cliff in search of adventure.