And the Lost will Return

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For a captain, a prince and a simple man, loss is a festering wound which ate away at all he was. Once, he was the son of a king who had set out to sea with the intention of... Of what? He no longer knew.

Once, he was happy. Carefree. He led his crew across the water on the greatest adventures. Once, he had a crew. A ship. A life.

And once, he had a love. Brief and insane, he felt the touch on his heart of another. The tender trace of a smile which melted and a look which ignited. Forbidden and abnormal, he had somehow fallen for a creature which could not have existed. Should not have been. There had been some sort of connection which he could not possibly explain but felt in his core. Then, she was gone. Taken from him by a darkness in human form - initially, at least. Human until her true form had been shown and she was revealed as...

Again, he no longer knew. Knowledge, as with his soul, had been wrenched from him by a thick, black tentacle.

He was staring out at the sea he had once called home. The surf had seemed to pull at him, wanting him to return to the place he'd called home, so he thought. He was wrong. It wasn't just pulling at him, it was beseeching him. Calling to him. Forming and reforming until it was no longer the surf. It was something more.

It was the rebuilding of his devastated heart. It was the hope rather than the hopeless.

It was Aren.

He pulled at her, barely able to believe what he was seeing. Mermaids became the foam of the ocean when they died, yet this one - his mermaid - was returning from the foam! Becoming more solid by the second, Aren's hold on Rick was the grip of someone who had visited Death and would do everything they could to ensure they never returned. A battle between life and whatever lay between that and its end was fought in that frantic embrace.

And life and love won.

"Aren!" Rick's cry was filled with the loss of her passing, made somehow more real on her return.

"Rick..." Aren's reply was an anaemic whimper, empty of strength expended in a fight she should not have been victorious in.

Man and... woman, for she had the legs she had died with rather than the tail she was born with, held each other. Their names were all they needed, with no words being worthy of expression against the outpouring of emotion evident in the sobs shaking each of them.

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I'm writing this story piece by piece as I work on other, more pressing projects, but the love shown since my announcement that I was writing a sequel has prompted me to post those pieces as I go.  There won't necessarily be full chapters due to time restraints but I'm hoping events these pockets of prose will be enough to put a smile on your face.

Thank you again, so much, for supporting me with this story.  I just write the words - you take the time to read, vote and comment and you tell me how much you're enjoying my work.

I want you to know I appreciate that.

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