Merulla waited below the surface of the river.
She had no fear the other merfolk would feel her actions through the embrace of the water—she had incited many schools of fish to hyperactivity. They would block her presence.
She waited for the whistle from the one with legs...
She wondered what kind of gem he would bring today.
She also wondered at his stupidity. He always gestured extravagantly about their future life together, sometimes displayed the member between his legs...
Did he not know the differences in their anatomies?
He whistled and she rose to the surface, splashing him with spume; using her powerful tail flukes to ascend to his face and plant a kiss on his lips.
He reeled from the kiss and laughed as quietly as he could—he'd indicated their meetings had to remain a secret...
Merulla gestured from him to her—where is my gift?
He reached into his pocket and produced a gem, placing it tenderly in Merulla's open palm.
The one with legs silently communicated his longing for her, of the time to come when they would be forever together.
She rose again and gave him a lingering kiss, then she made a square in the air with her fingers.
The one with legs again reached into his pocket and retrieved a piece of oiled paper—a map of a gem-field—placing it in her hand, gaining a final kiss.
Merulla flipped herself under the water and swam home.
She thought about the praise she would receive when she finally revealed her visits to Princess Bresshoulain.
She knew it wouldn't be too soon though, since she didn't have enough of her own gems yet...
Hesosten prepared for his public meeting with Bresshoulain—rehearsing his chain of logic.
She had to bow to his plan—there was no other way to save his people from the ones with legs...
The man on the dock shook himself alert—chasing away the dreams her kisses engendered.
He wondered at her stupidity—thinking the maps of any worth—though, a kiss from such a being was a treasure all its own, even if he engaged in what she thought was clandestine activity with the full knowledge of his people.
Still... To have her be his own, to smother him with her luscious kisses——he killed his thoughts.
As he joined his hidden mates, he swore again to conquer the merfolk—make them slaves of his forest kingdom.
They gathered at the center of the Sacred Lake, five hundred merfolk—the few remaining from the time before the ones with legs began encroaching on their domain.
There had been no direct contact between them (apart from Merulla's secret ventures)—the increasing deaths being from the massive fishing activities the ones with legs engaged in—robbing them of the particular fish they needed in their diet—that, along with the faster death from the poisons they emptied into the waters of the river.
The merfolk gathering was somber. They were to hear the upstart Hesosten's plan for their salvation.
The quiet became more profound as Bresshoulain swam into their center, sending waves of acceptance and peace through the water.
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"...mysterious and fantastical story telling with an amazing and often thought provoking twist." ~~ Author, Jane D. Watson ~~ "I have to applaud an author that can make me consider the human condition while presenting me with dragons and spirits and...