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Author Topic: if you like me for me & nothing else, well… that's all that I've wanted  (Read 104 times)

March 05, 2022, 07:03:17 PM
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beyond the waves

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  • Ervin

    • Pronouns: he/him

Private please! Title credit to Only Us from Dear Evan Hansen

The sea is his home. Beneath the waves is where he belongs. It is where he has always belonged.

At least, that is what Ervin has always been told.

Osiria is his home, that much he could always agree with. His family has lived there for generations, looking after their sector of the immense ocean. There were other cities scattered across the sea, but Osiria was the largest. Mermaids and merman across all areas of the globe traveled here, trading shells and stories. Never had Ervin known Osiria to not be bustling and happy.

His father was a kind and stern ruler, his mother giving and understanding. Ervin grew up as an only child for a few years, and then along came his younger brothers, Kai and Dillon. As they became older, Glaucus began to bestow more and more responsibilities upon his sons. Ervin had never known that he had needed a purpose in his life, but he found himself searching for something more to do with himself. Being the eldest prince was one thing, but Ervin did wonder if he was meant for something greater.

When he became the captain of the elite royal guard, Ervin threw himself wholeheartedly into his new role. At first, his men saw him as nothing more than a spoiled young merman. While Ervin felt their disapproval from every side, he persisted. He did not fight for their respect, but he worked hard to earn it. Their city, despite its love and prosperity, needed to be protected. And like his men, Ervin was willing to put his life on the line to do so. Osiria was his home and as its future ruler, he had to give it his all. It was his duty and his destiny.

But…

Still, Ervin wondered deep down if there was something more beyond the surface. There had always been tales of beings up above, breathing air all day and not relying on water for survival. Ervin had walked before, but to be able to do it long enough to discover a whole new world was wonderous. But that was something that Ervin could never do. It was something none of his people had ever done, and it was therefore never spoken of.

Ervin woke bright and early like he did any other day. His men in the barracks were still sound asleep as he swam up towards the sunshine. He enjoyed the few moments of peace as his face broke the surface, taking in the conditions for the day. His soft black tail waded beneath his hips, his chin bobbing just above the small waves breaking. The sky was pink with scattered red hues, which was never the best sign. There was the possibility of a storm, Ervin could predict that much.


”Captain.”

A gentle ripple in the water accompanied the spoken word. Ervin turned slightly to see his second at his side, Ren. “Good morning,” he replied. He looked back towards the horizon.

”A messenger from Tempedor came in late last night,” Ren said. ”The king is asking for you.”

Ervin’s jaw tightened. He had heard whispers of Tempedor from his parents and Osiria’s council. They were a smaller city, but they were an essential area for trade in the sea. This was not the first messenger Osiria had received over the last few weeks, and at this point Ervin had a feeling that it would not be the last. “Lead the men on the morning survey,” he said after a brief pause. “I will join you later on.” Ren nodded before diving back into the depths with a swish of his dark emerald tail. Ervin did his best to not wait too much longer until he followed suit.

The main castle of Osiria was much different than the barracks. The place was already bustling, servants moving back and forth hastily preparing for the day. Ervin made sure to set aside his spear and the golden rope that hung diagonally across his chest to signify his status as captain of the guard before entering the main dining room. The table was elegantly laid out, but was still nothing compared to the precious stones and shells lining the walls of the hall. They glittered in the early light of the day, both irritating and inspiring Ervin. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Tempedor messenger seated near the head of the table. He was able to offer them a small smile of greeting, but under a close eye it appeared to be more of a grimace at the bright pastel attire.

This would be interesting…

March 07, 2022, 06:44:45 AM
Reply #1

bruadarach

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  • Lachlan

    • Pronouns: she/her

Lachlan was enjoying a few moments of peace on the ship before the hellions (her niece and nephew) found her. She was leaning against a railing, gazing down at the sea beneath the ship. Her red curls blew in the gentle breeze. She wondered if she squinted hard enough if she could see beneath the waves. Far down to the ocean bottom. She didn’t know too much about what lived in the ocean. She understood how ships used the currents and winds. She understood the surface level, but what of all that vastness below the surface? She had been raised to respect the sea. She’d seen the devastation of storms that blew up from it on a village in the kingdom. She’d seen the wreckage of ships, too. She sea had given her kingdom so much her father had always taught her. But it could also take so much away, her mother had always taught her. In the lessons from her parents, she wondered why each one focused on different aspects of the sea.

“Are you daydreaming of your future?” Aoife startled Lachlan out of her thoughts. She just barely managed to stop herself from jumping. She knew her sister-in-law spotted the almost-startled jump because there was a smirk dancing on her lips. Aoife’s dark hair was pulled back in braids. She had ditched wearing a dress just like Lachlan had. Leggings were tucked into sensible boots and a belted tunic. Aoife had a better way of carrying herself, though. Like a queen, which was a good thing.

“No,” Lachlan said, shrugging her shoulders as she pulled away from the rail. She didn’t spy Fiona or Fergus next to Aoife. But she knew they weren’t too far from their mother. “I was just wondering about what is on the ocean floor.”

“Mm. Depends who you ask,” Aoife said, but before Lach could ask, her sister-in-law was changing topics. Back to the future, Lach tried not to look so upset by it. “But you should be thinking some about your future.”

“What is there to think of?” Lachlan asked, unable to hide the bitterness in her voice.

Her parents were getting more and more insistent on her finding a husband. She wasn’t getting any younger, and sooner rather than later, it would be harder to marry her off. They had given her plenty of time to fall in love on her own, they argued. But love couldn’t really grow under the pressure of what it would mean to be her husband, at least not among the men she had had fleeting relationships with. She’d never been queen, thanks in part to her niece and nephew. But there were still obligations and rules and protocol and all of that rot that she and any future partner of hers would have to follow. This voyage she and her family was on was not simply to show off Fergus and Fiona to a nearby kingdom but also for Lachlan to meet some son.


“You don’t have to marry this man,” Aoife said, her nose wrinkling.

Aoife’s marriage to Lachlan’s brother, Rafferty, was arranged. But she thought she saw love between Aoife and Raff these days. They always had, at the very least, liked each other. Raff was siding with Lach’s parents these days about her own impending nuptials, but Aoife was steadfast in her decision that Lach find love first. There was still time.


“Might just be easier if I do, though...” Lach said, and then luckily, the twins came running up to her and Aoife. Fergus was shorter than his sister, Fiona (much to his chagrin). Their skin was a lighter shade of brown than their mother’s.

“Aunt Lach! We are ready for lessons,” Fiona shouted; she was always a little louder and more outgoing than her brother. Not that Fergus was shy by any stretch of the imagination.

“Duty calls,” Lach said, grateful for the interruption. Aoife narrowed her eyes at Lach, but she didn’t call off her children. Other than to remind them to behave and not do anything stupid like fall into the ocean. The kids promised their mother they’d behave, and Lachlan led them towards the other end of the ship.

“What are we learning today?” Fergus asked, his head tilted to the side like a curious pup.

“Today, we are going to do something a little different. We are going to imagine what’s beneath the sea.”

“Oh,” both kids said in unison.

Lachlan wasn’t ready to give up on her life. She enjoyed teaching her niblings. She didn’t want to give them to someone else to teach. She didn’t want to marry out of obligation. But she knew time was running out.

March 19, 2022, 10:54:59 PM
Reply #2

beyond the waves

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  • Ervin

    • Pronouns: he/him

”Your Highness.”

Ervin worked hard to not visibly cringe at the address. Despite how the servants and the Tempedor messenger meant no harm by referring to him as such, the prince did not care to be treated as if he was some sort of god. It had taken Ervin quite a while to gain his guards’ respect as well as rid them of the need to refer to him as royalty. And since he spent nearly every waking moment with them, it bothered him even more to hear the title now. It took all of his effort to keep his mouth shut, his grimace only faltering slightly.

Ervin inclined his head in return. He knew that he should next greet Osiria’s guest, but he wasn’t really in the mood to do so. To his relief, his brothers were next to enter the room. Kai offered Ervin a small smirk before reaching out to clap a hand on his shoulder.
”Long time no see,” the second oldest prince said with a chuckle. His dirty blonde curls danced briefly over his seafoam green eyes, which sparkled with mirth as he then proceeded to mess with Ervin’s dark hair. While the charcoal-tailed prince was older, the silver-tailed one was somehow taller and bulkier. ”Been busy patrolling, shrimp?”

Ervin gently but purposefully shoved his brother off him. ”How are you doing, Kai?” he asked, behaving as if he was unaffected by his antics. Despite not being a fan of his role, Ervin knew that they all had to keep up a professional appearance in the presence of others. “I wouldn’t miss a family meeting for the world…” He further made a point of wordlessly directing Kai’s attention towards the visitor from Tempedor behind him.

Kai’s expression soured ever so slightly.
”Ah.” He briefly looked the messenger up and down as they bowed to the pair of them. ”I see.”

Ervin gave a small sigh under his breath, turning to face their guest as well. “Please, take a seat,” he said, trying his best to seem relaxed and confident. He could feel Kai’s eyeroll towards the back of his head. “I’m sure you are tired from your journey. The king and queen will be here shortly.” The messenger was overly appreciative, saying his thanks multiple times as the three of them all moved towards the table. As Kai took a seat on the stone beside him, Ervin whispered, “Where’s Dillon?”

”Hell if I know,” the other prince replied bitterly. Now it was Ervin’s turn to roll his eyes. Kai was being ridiculous, as always. He seemed to have thought that this meeting was going to be something different, maybe some sort of sign that Ervin was coming back out of his barracks. It made Ervin wonder if his brother genuinely missed having him around, although his attitude now would state otherwise. But that was a matter to deal with another time.

There was a shift in the water around them as the king and queen entered the hall. Hydne led the way in shimmered gold, her husband Glaucus following behind in jet black.
”Good morning,” she said with a smile and a nod. ”I apologize for the delay.” Hydne gracefully took the seat Glaucus offered her before beckoning the servers forward. ”Let us eat before we talk, gentlemen.”

Ervin adored his mother, but right now she had him on edge. He could barely taste his food, taking only the tiniest of bites. His gaze flickered over ever so often to his parents seated across from him. He had his suspicions regarding why he had been summoned for this meal, but the uncertainty of it all would drive him mad. But if there was anything Queen Hydne possessed in excess, it was patience.

Luckily for Ervin, his father knew that eventually they would need to speak on whatever reason Tempedor had sent a messenger.
”How fare the corals of Tempedor?” he called. Ervin knew Glaucus was ready to get down to business, as his fingers were running thoughtfully through his dark, chest-long beard.

”Flourishing as always, your Majesty!” the messenger replied.

”And Lord Ronan?”

“My lord is doing well. He thanks you graciously for the pearls, your Majesty.”


Ervin finally stopped his pointless nibbling. Pearls were exceptionally valuable throughout the kingdom. They required extensive work to discover and retrive any of substantial worth, making them a gracious gift indeed.

”I suspect then,” the queen chimed in. Both of his parents turned a blind eye to Ervin’s gaze, which was just short of a glare. ”That Lord Ronan has decided to accept our proposal?”

“Without question, your Majesty. Tempedor is prepared to discuss further negotiations. My lord awaits your word regarding when Lady Talora and Prince Ervin shall meet.”

March 24, 2022, 06:13:19 AM
Reply #3

bruadarach

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  • Lachlan

    • Pronouns: she/her

“I think that there are people who live under the seas,” Fergus said, and Fiona rolled her eyes. It appeared today Fergus was going to be the more fanciful one. Lach could never keep track of it because it always seemed to change. One day one twin would be more imaginative while the other one decided to play at being serious. As if their futures of running the Kingdom meant they couldn’t indulge in flights of fancy. Still, it never lasted long before roles were reversing.

“People?” Lach asked, “what sort of people?”

“Well... they don’t look like us,” Fergus said, frowning as he thought. His face scrunching up in concentration. “They’d look a bit like fish or or or maybe whales. But not quite. And, they have Kingdoms.”

“But why won’t they look like us?” Fiona asked, frowning. “Why do they have to look like fish?”

Because humans can’t breathe underwater,” Fergus replied, looking quite smug at his logic.

Fiona was frowning, and Lach could tell that she wanted to poke holes in Fergus’s logic but that she was struggling with it. It would probably be a good idea to interrupt and redirect the kids.


“Okay, we won’t worry about what they look like. But how do you think the Kingdoms would be run?” Lachlan asked, and she could see the confusion in her nibling’s faces. This was a big concept for kids their ages, she supposed. But she also knew this was the kind of thing they needed to start thinking about. At some point, one of them would become King or Queen. Sure, they had quite a while yet to go. Their father wasn’t even King yet, but that day was quickly approaching. Lachlan knew her father had no intention of holding onto the crown until his death or until he was too old. There would be a ceremony, sooner rather than later, and the crown would be passed on.

“What do you mean, Aunt Lach?” Fiona asked, and Lach smiled as she explained what she was asking. Of course, she didn’t need her niblings to think of something overly complicated. Still, she wanted them to start thinking about the different ways a kingdom could be run and think of some of the problems a King or Queen might need to deal with. So she kept it as lighthearted and imaginative as possible.

They enjoyed a lunch break together and then afternoon lessons which were kept on the shorter side because Raff came to collect his kids early. He said he wanted to show them a few things on the ship. Having assumed she would be busy with the kids all day, Lach found herself a little lost. She thought of seeking out Aoife again. It shouldn’t be hard because while the ship was big... it was still a ship. There wasn’t all that much room to get lost in. But, instead, she went down to her quarters to fetch a book and read.

She didn’t know how long she was reading for before the ship began to sway dangerously. She heard shouting from the crew — nothing panicked, just shouting over the wind to prep the boat for a storm — and then ten or so minutes, a knock on her door. Before she could open it, Aoife was standing there.


“I can’t find the kids. We are sheltering, and Raff came back without them. He said they were supposed to be—... “

“Aoife, it’s okay. Go back to Raff and my parents; I’ll look for them.”

“Lach, they are my kids-...”

“And you are the future Queen. So we can’t have you getting tossed overboard.”

Aoife’s eyes widened, and Lachlan knew she was picturing her kids in the sea at this moment.

“Aoife. I’m sure they are fine; I’ll be back with them. I promise, now go.”

Aoife didn’t argue any further, and Lachlan was relieved. She hastily left her sleeping quarters, and she began to search the ship. Looking for all the places, she knew Fiona and Fergus liked to hide. She didn’t find them anywhere, and her heart sank as the ship swayed more and more dangerously in the storm. But, unbeknownst to her, because she didn’t think to check in with her family, her niblings were now safe and sound with their parents. Lach continued to search, and it eventually brought her above deck.

The ocean looked angry in the storm. The clouds above her looked pissed, too. A huge wave sent Lach flying against a railing. She gripped it. The wood was wet, and she didn’t know if it was from the rain or the sea spray. Her stomach churned with each rough sway of the ship.


“FERGUS! FIONA!” She shouted, but her voice was swallowed up by the storm’s noise.

She squinted, trying to see huddled shapes on the deck, but all she saw was the crew running for shelter. Stubbornness propelled her to keep looking, but another wave came, and this time the railing didn’t catch her.

Lachlan was thrown to the sea. Her body hit the cold water, and she had just enough sense in her to not shout but to keep her mouth shut and hold her breath. It was a shock to feel the water against her body. She struggled against the waves. The boat was moving away from her even in the storm — getting tossed like she was —and she couldn’t reach it. She was a strong swimmer, but this was beyond her.

Panic gripped her, and she did a stupid thing and shouted. Logic out the window. She sputtered against the water. She didn’t think she could keep afloat much longer. The ocean was going to pull her down to its depths.

This was her end.

April 02, 2022, 10:46:18 PM
Reply #4

beyond the waves

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  • Ervin

    • Pronouns: he/him

Well, that had not taken long at all.

Ervin stifled a sigh, shutting his eyes briefly. He could already feel Kai’s gaze upon him. Their parents continued on with their conversation with the messenger, speaking as if their eldest wasn’t in the same room. But there he was, listening to every word. Ervin wanted nothing more than to sink down into the sand and cease to exist.

Marriage. That was all his parents seemed to talk to him about these days. That, and his status as the crown prince of Osiria. To the royal family, these subjects were always together in conversation and had been for as long as Ervin could remember. Therefore, he had had reason to suspect that the messenger from Tempedor would be related to his “coming of age.” He was not entirely surprised that his parents had chosen to not include him in the discussion of his future with this Lady Talora, which further soured his mood about the whole matter.

Ervin had done his best to express his disdain regarding his future, but his argument was almost always cut short by his mother. It was “his duty” to rule the kingdom, and in order to do that he needed a wife. His mother, just like Kai had, had just recently made a comment about how Ervin’s work as captain of the guard was taking up too much of his time. It wasn’t as if he wouldn’t come when he was summoned, as he had today; but Ervin had certainly thrown himself wholeheartedly into a task he enjoyed. Not that being king of Osiria would not have its own challenges, but he knew that much of the role involved discussion and debate thoroughly shrouded in politics. Ervin had no interest in such things, and yet his birth status still superseded his wishes.

But, it seemed Ervin would be counting the days of his freedom. With each talk of weddings, the economy, and potential grandchildren, he should have suspected that his parents’ plan was this close to fruition. Now it seemed that an actual proposal on his behalf had been made. Deep down, Ervin knew that he loved his parents dearly; but at this moment he wished they could see just how much he was seething. But no, they were more blind than ever to his emotions. It stung, but Ervin’s obedience managed to just barely keep his tongue at bay.


”I say we should set up a meeting as soon as possible,” Ervin vaguely heard his mother reply. He opened his eyes once more, fighting the urge to bury his face in his hands. ”It will be lovely to see the family of Tempedor, especially for such a time of celebration. Don’t you agree, Ervin?”

If Ervin had had any food in his mouth, he would have most certainly choked to death. For a heartbeat, he almost wished that it was so. He just barely was able to swallow his spit before speaking. “Yes, Mother,” he replied hollowly. Hydne nodded with satisfaction before turning the conversation back between the three of them.

Kai, however, seemed to actual sense his brother’s discomfort.
”Hey,” he hissed, much to Ervin’s displeasure. ”What’s got your fin?”

“Not now, Kai,” Ervin growled almost immediately. He knew any comment his brother would make, being their mother’s “perfect child,” would aggravate him enough to break his facade. If he were to explode in front of a guest, Osiria would not be put in the best light.

”I know you don’t want to do any of this -” Ervin’s jaw clenched. ”- but it’s the right thing to do. It’s what you were born to do. Man up.”

Yet another family member shoving Ervin’s feelings away without a second thought. As if it was that easy for him to just feel nothing about the entire thing. Ervin was steps away from accepting a life that he did not want, and he knew that it would make him nothing but an empty shell of himself. But no one cared about that. All that mattered was the blood flowing through his veins and how it would carry on for further generations -

”Captain!” The sound of Ren’s voice was like music to Ervin’s ears. While his second-in-command’s tone was lined with urgency, he was more than thrilled by his appearance. Glaucus, Kai, and Hydne looked far from pleased by the intrusion, but Ervin ignored them. He moved to meet Ren part of the way without hesitation. ”Sharks were noted along the northern wall,” the guard murmured. Ervin’s brow furrowed slightly. Sharks were not uncommon in the area, but any near their borders could pose a threat to visitors and the kingdom itself at any time. ”We have sectioned off the homes nearby, but -” Ervin knew full well that Ren was terrified of sharks. Their people were able to live alongside most creatures in peace, but there were always some that reminded them of their place on the food chain.

“I will join you,” Ervin said. He could see relief flooding his second’s eyes. He began to follow Ren out of the hall but was stopped by his mother clearing her throat. “Sharks,” Ervin called back. He did pause to face her respectfully, hands going behind his back. “My apologies, but I must excuse myself in order to make sure our kingdom is safe, your Majesty.”

The messenger from Tempedor gulped. Hydne’s faint scowl remained unchanged. ”Come see me when you return, Ervin,” she responded. ”There is still much to discuss.”

Ervin gave a small bow. “As you wish, your Majesty.” He turned away once more, joining Ren who provided him with his spear and captain of the guard rope sash.

The pair arrived at Osiria’s northern wall quickly. A few of their men were standing watch, focused on the gray forms swimming back and forth several lengths away. The sharks, while still at a safe distance, were clearly searching for prey. Ervin surveyed the evacuated area briefly for signs as to what would have drawn the fish here in the first place. It didn’t take long for him to find that both the wall was crumbling in places and the homes here were decorated with bright white stones and coral.
“They’re drawn to the decorations,” Ervin said to Ren. “They can see the colors of the mosaics on the houses through the wall. Be sure to inform the owners to repaint them or -”

”Captain, they’re moving!” Ervin’s attention returned to the creatures. Indeed, the sharks appeared to suddenly turn away from their initial target. He watched in surprise as they took off at full speed. It was not a move out of fear, but of intent. Despite Ren’s protest, Ervin pulled himself up and over the northern wall before following them.

“Come on!” he yelled over his shoulder through the bubbles left in his wake. “The main travel route is over here, they could be going after a pod!” Ervin’s men were quick to act at that, catching up quickly. The sharks were much faster, but it didn’t take long for Ervin to see what they had been drawn to. He slowed his swim, allowing Ren to come to his side as he took in the dark shape on the surface far above them. They watched as the sharks rose towards it, bright flashes of light drawing shadows. Ervin recalled then the red sky he had witnessed just hours before. The vibrations through the water from the winds and waves were apparent now.

”A ship. Human, most likely,” Ren said. He glanced over at Ervin. ”Took the sharks away from Osiria. I’d say that’s a job well done.”

Ervin did not reply. This was the one part of the guard that he did not care for. Their job was to protect Osiria and the seas, and yet they were ordered to not interfere when it came to humans. Indeed, they were the rulers of the land; but it never sat right with Ervin to refuse to help them when they chose to travel in his domain. The stories of old stated that humans must never know about Ervin and his people, as the land only brings war and despair. He had always wondered if this was true but had never been brave or rash enough to question further.

But today… Ervin was full of suppressed anger towards his own kingdom. All his life he had been ordered to follow rules, his destiny decided for him. Well today, Ervin would choose to be in control of something he actually believed in: preserving life. And without another word, he propelled himself forward and up.


”Captain?!”

“There are others in danger now! I need you to keep the sharks at bay!” Ervin called back firmly. He paused for a moment to face his team. “That is an order!” A chorus of “Yes, sir!” echoed back as he resumed his swim. As he drew closer to the base of the ship, he heard a different commotion on the opposite side. He recognized it as something thrashing about near the surface. Ervin could also sense the strength of the waves above propelled by the storm, undoubtedly making surface swimming difficult. He made a beeline for the struggle. Through the dark, Ervin could see four limbs treading the water. He surged upward, arms out to bring the other with him so that at least their head could be above the surface.