|A Mermaid's Carol|
Its hard to sing underwater but if Morgana can somehow manage it then there's no reason why Muradin can't at least try! The dorf is out and about again exploring the deep seas looking for that blasted hole that connects Morgana's grotto with the surface. He's armed as usual with his clunky old school divers suit and a pick axe. His merry 'Diggy Diggy Hole' song can be heard whilst he's swinging away at the ground, but it's quite muffled. Likely, only those attuned to underwater sound can hear it, like Morgana.
Speaking of her, it seems that the mermaid has gone off to explore the vastness of the wreckage and found an amazingly large temple, built to some ancient god. Muradin doesn't know why she'd want to explore it considering her poor opinion of deities, but he lets his siren be. As she goes to wander and see the sights, he continues to swing away at the ground, always wary of any potential naga warriors that may be lurking in the murky depths. Muradin knows that they are out there, they just don't dare attack him while Morgana's near him.
Sound carriess amazingly well in the water and so its with an ear attuned to the dwarfs singing that the siren swims off to do her exploring. Past the wrecks and through the stone garden she goes then to the temple proper. She has never been one for gods and the like, she has always believed in the power of oneself over to some manner of worshiping another. And now that she has actively rubbed elbows with gods in Twisted, her opinions have only gotten stronger on the subject.
When she passes through the pillars and into the inner sanctum the siren looks around , taking in the carvings, the tiles and the beauty of a place clearly dedicated to the sea itself. There is something about the place that makes her heart beat just a little fast. A frieze on the wall shows a myriad of lovely merfolk, resting on a jut of rocks , surrounded by cresting waves and a bright glowing sun. She remembered a time gone when she had gloried in the sunlight, played in the beams as they danced through the water and coral reefs.
A small sigh spills from her and she turns to look at the great statue of the god and the wealth of creatures swimming in his wake. She tilts her head and notes a crystal in the gods crown that had fallen to lay on the mosaic floor. She takes it up then swims up to set it back in place. As she does the light of the globes catch it and form a beam of vibrant blue light that spears the siren, catching and pinning her mid water, through the heart, like a fish on a spike.
Though Morgana might feel danger as the light of the crystal shines upon her and forcefully pins her against one of the temple walls, she'll find that she's actually feeling no pain. In fact, all her senses are all systematically removed, as if she were slowly falling asleep. Darkness soon overcomes her with all the distant song of the dwarven song heard in the background, like an echo in a deep cave.
Shadows are all around her, though somehow she still seems to be underwater. Her senses slowly return, but she's no longer in the shinning temple. Its difficult to say where she is now, it looks like a vast, endless tunnel. The stone slabs that form it are all around her but its evidently clear that the only way is forward. Is she dreaming? Was she transported somewhere? Quite hard to tell, especially in a place like Twisted.
Morgana need not question here whereabouts for long though, as in the distance she'll see a group of people approaching. They are on foot, but seem to be just fine despite being underwater. It's almost as if the water here is only for her own benefit and nothing else about her surroundings seems to be affected by it. Certainly not the group of people approaching her. There's quite a few of them, six people in fact, and though they are too far to tell who they are, Morgana will sense that their silhouettes are quite familiar. Wings at their backs, four arms on one, who else could have these features?
At first she does feel startled and somewhat shaken by the sensation of being driven into the wall and pinned. As her focus fades though and she drifts the fear like feeling falls away and only curiosity takes its place. When she is fully roused again she is still in her native form, moving as siren will in water and yet down that long shadowed corridor there are people walking. The siren frowns to herself, her mind a blur and unclear and yet she is not lost to the frenzy of her hunger, only unable to pin down any one thought. Like sea weed caught on waves the strands of her thoughts flutter and drift and roll around her. The outlines of people ahead tease some bit of recognition and she frowns softly, surely she is wrong. These who it seem they are were lost to her, lost after having left Nox for other realms, lost after she was brought into Twisted. She swims closer just to prove to herself that she is wrong but her frown becomes a hard thing as she sees that some how, she is not wrong...the warriors, the others. Her heart clenches with a savage aching pain as another more dear shadow separates from the others and she makes out her long lost mate. Now she knows all is not as it should be or even possible for she saw this one cut down and his light lost to the universe.
It is just as she suspects. The figures are the ones of those who were at one point intimately close to her. Leading the group is the massive figure of the Dark Lord, king of the tower in the sea of stars. Drak's figure is massive amongst the others as he always had been, the vampire king draped in his wings like a large cloak, burning eyes of intense hatred looming in the distance to see the approaching siren. Directly to his right is his wife, the dhampir Katherine, calculating eyes staring at the wayward siren from behind her glasses. To the dark lord's left are his fangs, the warriors and servants of the family. The red haired Myst, clad in her gallant armor, her wolf companion astride next to her, wings curled around her in similar fashion to the dark lord. The Mamluke next to her, face as always hidden behind his shemagh, intense eyes looking forward like those of an eagle whilst his two pair of arms cross across his chest. And between them little Anglia, the butterfly fairy of the tower, carrying in her arms her daughter.
Of course, the pale athletic figure that is the dark lord and Katherine's son, Dacian, is also there. The young vampire smiles demurely to Morgana, dressed as sharply as ever. He opens his mouth to speak, fangs poking from behind his lips in a flash, but it is the Dark Lord's booming voice that echoes through the halls first. It is always the lion who talks first in his pride.
"There you are, Morgana." His voice like a lion's growl. A great temperamental beast who just so happens to be currently in rest. However, even after all this time Morgana can tell by his voice that it only takes a moment to irritate the Dark Lord. "We thought you lost." He continues. "Come back to us and join my court at last." No one else dares speak whilst the head is talking, not even Dacian.
As that voice booms around her the siren gets a rush of instant fury. It was Draketh that taught her rage, before he and his came to her waters she had been just a survivor of the frenzy, several centurys of living and feeding but not having more emotional involvement then that of a shark with its prey. It was Draketh, the warlord and his other world vampire clan that came to the dark sea and laid claim to territory that had been hers for many hundred years. It had been Draketh who had tried to subjugate her and bend her to his will and he who had threatened her with death when she refused to yield. Only the sea protected her, the fact that she could leave the land and go back to a place the warlord and his could not follow.
The siren grits her teeth in her fury and then looks to Dacian. His presence reminded her that this was not possible, these people could not truly be here. She saw Dacian die a bloody and violent death, cut down and destroyed. The pain of that memory stole her fury and she sighed out a long breath "I was not lost, Draketh, you and yours abandoned me after your great war. To join you I would have to give up all that I am and yield to your command and I will not do this thing. All that bound me to you was lost."
She steps forward and reaches a hand out toward the young male "Forgive me My Own, I could not protect you. I could not save you. You who taught me so much, brought me love and pleasure, brought to me the learning of the landed. I treasured you above all but I could not save you. I wished death upon myself when you were lost but I survived. As much as I still love you, I can not stay, not when I know this is not what should be. I do not think you would want that of me. You always brought me light even in the dark."
Finally, Dacian seems to want no more and he steps forward and aside the Dark Lord. "Father, enough, please." The young vampire's bright eyes stare back at the imposing figure of Draketh before regarding Morgana again with softer eyes.
"Don't blame yourself for my demise, my love." Even he acknowledges that he's not really there, that he is naught but a ghost of the past. "Although my father will never admit it, there are some things that are even beyond our control."
"It saddens me that ours could not continue as we intended. I had such life planned for us. My love for you would have surpassed whatever obstacles my family would have put between us."
He remains silent as his gaze is cast downwards before looking up and smiling sadly. "But you lived, and that is enough for me to rest peacefully. Be happy, my love. Don't let yourself be shackled by the past.. but don't forget us either. Through you, we still live."
"Don't forget me." Says Dacian.
"Don't forget me, either." Echoes Katherine.
"And me." Says the fiery Myst.
"And this one." Continues the Mamluke.
"And us too!" Ever cheerful Anglia chirps happily, the baby in her arms waving at Morgana.
Finally, Draketh gives as a long exhale of air through his nostrils, like a waking demonic lion and says, "Don't you dare forget me." Arrogant, even when he's nothing but an illusion.
Pain lances the sirens chest and even below the waters or not, great crystal tears slide down the sirens cheeks. She sucks in a great breath and her fingers spasm on the air as she holds that singular hand out. The words of those before her fill her heart and mind. She had loved Dacian, she had respected the others and though in her way she had despised Draketh, he had taught her many things. They had brought her from a tainted mermaid to a true siren. She ached for the loss of them all and her melodic voice comes forth in a soft and raspy "I will never forget you, always will you be part of me. I will remember and I will take what you taught me to the future and be strong. I will not let the dark consume me Dacian. I will grow as you wished me to." Her words become a keening wail of grief and loss. Remembered love seeps into that sound and it morphs from wail to song, long and beautiful song. Love, loss and memory all fill that song. The notes are the purest she has ever sung, more powerful then any before issued by any siren.
Dacian steps forward and reaches for that hand. He interlocks his fingers with hers and the siren will be certain that it is her old lover's hand touching her. His palm feels like it did before, its sensation real, and the rush of energy passing through the mermaid's body just as it did when Dacian touched her all those years ago.
Her beautiful song is heard and even the ghosts of her past are affected by it. No longer do they look at her with judgmental eyes of abandoned betrayal. Their features soften, and even Draketh's burning eyes go calm in contentment. Even he can at least accept this.
"Thank you." Dacian whispers softly and lovingly. "I'm glad at least that I could depart from you properly, my love." His hand begins to turn ethereal and it phases through the siren's fingers as the apparition of her past lover begins to float away, satisfied with his encounter. "Goodbye.."
"Grow stronger for us!" Demands Draketh as he too and the others around him being to disappear. "You are the vanguard of Nox now! Let all those who cross you rue the day they challenged the might of the land of endless night!" In their own way, the Bloodfang family join the siren's song, as Draketh gives a howl much like a lion's roar that makes the tunnels shudder. Myst and Mamluke draw their blades up to the air and they too roar, with Anglia and Katherine joining in a cheer soon after.
The last vision of the Bloodfang family is all them roaring back at Morgana, waving their blades up in the air, cheering the siren on and bidding her good fortune as only their warrior lineage can. Before they fully disappear, Dacian draws his sword and points it to the sky giving one last roar that mimics that of his father.
And then, they are gone.
Morgana may be the last and the strongest of a forgotten realm. But what does that matter here? In this place where everything is possible and beings from all over reality mingle side by side. What is Nox, or indeed Duat, to this Twisted kingdom?
Morgana remains in the tunnel even long after the roars of the Bloodfangs fade. Once all quiets down and the Bloodfangs fully disappear from view, a new group of silhouettes will be seen approaching Morgana from the distance. These shadows would look quite familiar to the mermaid as well, though even more so than the visions of her past.
As it well suits the realm of Twisted, the group approaching her are all mismatched shapes and forms. One tall with great feathers poking out of its head, a floating mass of amorphous jelly that no so much walks but swims its way towards the siren, a dog creature with a glowing thing bouncing on its head, short and stocky figures, a human canine hybrid of some sort, some kind of tiny horse.. yes, Morgana will be able to recognize their shapes easily enough. They are people she sees nearly every day.
Just like before, it is the biggest of them all who speaks first before the others, even as Muradin looked ready to say something and the others too, it is Kotal's booming voice that is heard first, almost mimicking Draketh before him.
"How can we trust you?" He accuses her immediately. "You who have already failed a great family before us. You who would rather wander the seas aimlessly instead of take what is rightfully hers."
"How could we ever call you our own?"
When those familiar shapes take full form she lets her eyes drift to them one at a time. Most she knows in some way or at least has met before. Of course Kotal is there, the blue bastard, and those of Task and even her newly acquired love, her Chosen One, Muradin. Fresh from the freeing ache of her released grief she almost laughs when Kotals imperious tone assail her ears. Her chin lifts and cool dark eyes meet the war gods with out flinching " I have not failed. I live, and I grow. I may not be what was expected, and I may still have much to do to be more then what I was, but each day , each moment, I remember that I can learn. I do not seek the sea for hiding, I seek it to heal and to be where I belong."
With the Aztec momentarily silenced, the dorf can move up to address the mermaid proper and he smiles back up at her.
"Ye've come so far, me luv, and there are so many roads ta travel still. Ye donna hafta travel 'em alone, we are here for ye. /I/ am here for ye." He clarifies, clenching his fist. "Will ye stay with us? Become with us the family that ye've always deserved?"
"We donna want ye to be alone anymore, but its ye who has to accept us in yer life."
"Even though we know we canna replace what ye lost, and we know we got our faults." Muradin chuckles motioning to the mismatched group behind him, a random assortment of people if there was ever one. "We still think we can make this work. Don't ye?"
As Kotal is shoved to the back and the dwarf steps up to speak, the siren cant help but laugh and it is a warm sound that brushes the skin like living fur, warm and silken. That is the true spirit of her Chosen, his warmth and generosity, his laughter and boldness. I seeing Dacien brought an ache of lost love to her, seeing Muradin brings something akin to sunshine. She feels an overwhelming warmth spread through her and the closes thing she has ever felt to true joy. The siren smiles, unguarded and genuine, the action lighting her visage with pure radiance even with the flash of sharp teeth. "Oh my Chosen, how could I not? To hold back from you is like trying to hold back the tides. You have become Sun to my Moon, land to my sea. Where you are I will be. I do not desire to be alone any more. I want life and love and ...family. I never dreamed I could or wanted to till I found joy in you, laughter and complete acceptance of all that I am. As for the others, I have done many things that left so many unsure of my intentions, I can only say that it has taken time to remember who and what I truly am and to heal from great sorrow. I know now what I desire and I will strive to be worthy of the trust you put in me."
It is a sharp contrast between the realms as Morgana has surmised. Whereas the realm of Duat and its inhabitants caused her sharp intense pain and sorrow, Twisted seems to be a lot brighter, fun and indubitably far sillier. Even if many present are hardened warriors, even they aren't safe from the comical nature that is having everyone together. It's hard to appear serious when side by side with the likes of Serenity and Twilight.
Morgana's response elicits a big grin from Muradin, he pumps his fist in the air in cheer and laughs heartily. "Aha!! That's more like it!" He turns to the others excitedly and raises his fists again. "Ye hear that, lads!? She says she's staying with us!"
A big cheer erupts from the group, Morgana could swear that there's even streamers and confetti being thrown, Flandre begins to dance whilst she floats there in the air and so does Serenity, Twilight and Doommuffin soon following.
"This is gonna be great!" Chirps the vampire girl with the rainbow wings and spins around Morgana, with the others following. Muradin grasps the mermaid's hands and he begins circling with her with all the others joining in, even those who would normally be too grim or serious to partake in the festivities like Kotal, Urus and Minu begin dancing in circles around Morgana. Its a grand party just for her!
As those around her begin to celebrate, the siren gives herself over to the joy and pleasure. Her fingers curl into Muradins as he reaches for her and she arches, letting her head fall back, dark hair swirling like streamers as together they spin and cavort. Again that laugh spills from her, a living thing that fills the space and soon moves from laughter to song. Oh what a song, a song like none she has sung since she was just a simple mermaid. A song filled with joy and grace, laughter and pleasure, a merry , dancing of notes that spins vision of sunlight and sparkling seas, of bright colors and happiness.
Soon, their voices echo in the distance and they vanish into thin air, leaving the mermaid floating gently in the air.. or water.
If Morgana thinks enough about it, there is a clear pattern being followed her. Duat was her past, Twisted is her present and now.. what else could possibly follow?
Another figure approaches from the distance and this is a silhouette that Morgana would not recognize.
The upper part of the shape is human in nature, a clear woman judging by the curves, chest and long hair. But the lower half, its like a mass of writhing tentacles, like an octopus.
Whatever this shape may be, its swimming directly towards Morgana, just as the others had done. And this time its just one figure instead of a group.
Morgana gathers herself and slowly opens her eyes as the next shape appears in the distance. Her brow furrows at the shape before and she knows it not. Head tilting one way and then the other. There is something at seems familiar and yet she does not know this being. As the woman comes closer she draws herself up and carefully assesses her. The siren offers no threat to the one coming and with the joy still warm in her heart it is hard not to offer a greeting smile, such that it is filled with sharp teeth.
"Hello." A melodic and tomboyish voice greets the mermaid as the person finally reveals herself. It is indeed a girl, young in appearance, with long sandy blond hair and deep blue eyes like the ocean itself. She wears very little, with nothing to her but a cloth around her chest to cover her breasts and a necklace made of sea shells.
Instead of legs she has a dozen tentacles sprouting from her waist line. Purple in color, they look just like an octopus, even down to the sucking portions that said tentacles use to grab on to things.
The girl smiles winsomely at Morgana and tilts her head. Saying nothing for now. Where Draketh and Kotal Kahn had been quick to make demands of the mermaid or judge girl, it seems this girl is waiting for Morgana to speak first.
"All the trials you've endured so far. The acceptance of your loss and the desire to want to be happy, leads you to take your rightful place in the future." She continues in her ambiguous explanation. "A future where we will meet. Though I'm just a symbol of what you'll become.. if you so desire to continue this path."
"No." The girl simply shakes her head as she continues to circle Morgana. "You will change, though you won't become what I am. I am not you though I do have part of you." There's another cheeky smile there and the girl twirls her body playfully in the water, a true child of the seas. "I can't tell you where or when you'll meet me. But you'll recognize me when you see me."
"Twisted won't remove your taint. It will let you control its power and you'll be given a grand opportunity."
"When you though, I want you to promise that you'll use it to protect me, okay? Many people will want to hurt me and those close to you, and it will only be through your newfound power that you'll be able to protect us."
"Can you bear the responsibility of protecting those you love? Can you care for anyone besides yourself?"
"Or will you eat me when you get hungry? Like how you did with Charybdis."
"When I come, please protect me." She repeats and begins to move away from Morgana. Once again, it shows that she is naught but an illusion as she begins to fade away from existence, passing through Morgana's fingers as if she were made of wind. "I will be relying on you until I can fend for myself." Another smile and she begins to sing a mermaid song, a song full of promise that one day soon they will meet again.
Morgana offers a soft and gentle smile as the girl mentions the great sea monster forgiving her and being in a better place. "thank you for that. Do you have a name? So I will know its you when we meet?" The words leave her just moments before the girl slides away and fades. The siren reaches for her, a sense of yearning growing in her chest. "wait..don't go...I will protect you..I promise."
As she leaves, the darkness returns to the tunnel and all is still. At least until a beam of light shines from the end of the tunnel, the same beam of light that transported Morgana here, and pierces right through her, just like it did before.
This time, it empowers her with something monumentally powerful. Energy begins to run through the siren's veins.
Her past, her present, her future. All of them channeling within her and allowing her to transcend into that which had been cultivated through thousands of years.
In just an instant, she'll feel that the taint controls her no longer.
The siren reaches for the girl as she slowly fades. The musical voice touches her and she sighs in longing. There is something about that sea child that stirs in her a yearning. That promise that fills the space makes her heart beat faster and she can't wait to share all this strangeness with Muradin. She is aware that what ever is happening its something strange and special. As she is left alone again in the darkness she lets herself just relax and float in the quiet. Her mind dwells on all she has seen and felt and then the light comes and she is speared with it. The siren gasps and hangs on that pike of light, the sirens body quivers and somewhere in that vastness of bright sensations she feels a sudden stillness in her body. For the first time in 900 years there is no ever present clawing hunger ripping at her, demanding she feed even when she had been glutted. Her mind reels with this strangeness. How does one react to something so pervasive in ones body suddenly just...gone.
As soon as the light vanishes, Morgana will find herself back in the temple where she once was. But not all is as she left it. Time continued to pass while she was stuck in her dream, and once she regains her senses and returns to her Twisted reality, she'll notice that the dwarven song on the outside of the temple has been replaced by the sound of clashing steel and warcries. The unmistakable sound of battle. The naga have taken the opportunity that Morgana was indisposed and are trying to attacking Muradin.
However, there is something more. Not only is Morgana in full control of her hunger, it feels as if though the very water around her bends to her will. She can feel everything around her, the oceans whispering to her, calling her to use her newfound power. The power she can use to protect her loved ones.
Oh well, he'll patiently wait his turn until the mermaid queen is finished with her business.
That starfish is on to something regarding Morgana as the queen of the sea though, as the mermaid will find that its not only her who feels different.
She arrives to the scene almost instantly, if Morgana was fast underwater before now she'll feel as though she's moving with blurring speed. She finds about a dozen naga hunters piling on Muradin who's trying to swat them away with his axe and hammer. But the struggle ceases immediately as soon as Morgana speaks those words.
All stop, even Muradin, staring up at the mermaid with wide, perplexed eyes.
The naga do not run, nor do they try to fight either. They immediately throw down their weapons and kotow before Morgana, bowing down in reverence and supplication. "Forgive usss!" They say with trembling fear. "Pleassse.. sspare uss o' queen!"
Even the naga realize that Morgana is no longer the frenzied shark she was once before. She's now something far more beyond that.
"Uh.. did I miss something 'ere?" Muradin is the only one left standing and he's looking mighty perplexed, noticeable even whilst wearing that diving suit of his.
As the naga react with such instant deference the siren blinks. She has yet to tie these new feelings with anything more powerful in her. She moves closer to the group and she singles one out "you..there...come here!" Her tone is commanding and she pierces him with a hard dark glare. "you and yours were told before that you were not welcome here. I will not destroy a whole people just for having the bad luck to come to Twisted, but you will tell your leader that from this moment forward, your people are forbidden to come any closer to land then the temple. You may worship there if that is how your kind choose and you may hunt the deep sea but you will not seek to harm any of the landed or seek to come any closer to the lands of Twisted. If you do so, I will be greatly displeased." Her tone holds something it never had before, something commanding and controlling. If these beings chose they might be able to throw off her command and yet it is very strong and certain.
"Yesss, o' Queen!" He nods frantically. "We will inform Lady Vasshj immediately! Your will isss our command!" The naga slithers backwards, not daring to show his back to the queen of the ocean and quickly ushers the others away, swimming as fast as they can to relay the news. These naga, who were once so fierce and defiant, can't even think of throwing off Morgana's control over them. They are under her complete control and she knows it.
Morgana might realize that she's sounding an awful lot similar to Kotal Kahn.
"Me luv?" Muradin looks up to her, still looking at a loss of what just happened. He's never seen naga act like that before anyone other than Illidan Stormrage.