Date Published: 4/27/18
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing
As crown prince, Cormack is required to take a bride and his place as king. His father’s choice is Princess Nephara of their neighboring ally, the Kingdom of Caraway. But the appearance of Asrai, a fiery mermaid determined to get what she wants, and an heir to her own throne, has Cormack wondering where his heart’s loyalty lies.
Exiled from her underwater kingdom, Asrai is determined to do whatever is necessary to return to her throne, but Cormack, once a means to an end, has enchanted her. Can Asrai get the best of both worlds, or will she sacrifice her heart for her kingdom?
The candle sputtered as Pamela opened the worn tome. The pages were curling, and the painted illustrations were smudged from curious fingers. She settled into the overstuffed chair next to the fire grate.
“Come on then,” Pamela patted her knee, “it’s time for a story.”
Cormack trotted over and lay on the woven rug. His chubby feet tapped the floor as he swung his legs up and down. “Tell me about the mermaids again, Pamela!”
She chuckled and held up the book. “Already ahead of you, dear.”
Long ago, the gods brought life to the world and all the creatures in it. Poseidon wanted to show the gods that he was the best creator, and so he made mer people in his own image. The other gods were so impressed by Poseidon’s works that they crowned him king of the gods. One god was jealous and felt that he could form something better, but no matter how hard he tried his creatures all melted back to mud. This god was Kataraménos, the Cursed One. Realizing that he could not beat Poseidon, he chose to steal his creation instead.
Kataraménos dove deep into the realm of the mer people and tricked one of the tribes into coming on land. He coaxed them with the beauty of green trees and plentiful fauna to hunt. He helped mould their bodies so they could stay on the land, producing the first humans. As a last affront to Poseidon, he gave them little seeds from the stars so they would one day pass on from their flesh and be immortal like the gods.
Poseidon was furious when he discovered what Kataraménos had done. Unfortunately, the humans could not go back to the sea after living on land for so long, nor were they willing to give up their new claim to immortality. As punishment, Poseidon cut the humans off from the wellspring, rendering them blind and dumb to magick.
The mer people wept for their lost kin, and soon, the humans forgot about their former lives in the sea. For many years the humans and the mers fought, as the humans were filled with the false superiority that Kataraménos poisoned them with. They believed themselves to be equal to the gods, and that all the world was theirs for the taking—the land, the sea, the air, and all the things in it. The mers would tear down their ships and eat the sailors, warning the humans to stay away from their watery kingdoms. Even Poseidon raised his hand on occasion to beat back the human ego, sending squalls that tore ships asunder and sent wailing sailors to the deep abyss.
After a time, the mer people were defeated, as the humans kept building larger and stronger ships. No longer could they pierce the hulls with their claws and wrent the lumber to splinters. In fact, humans would sometimes catch the mers, forcing them to grant wishes, or worse, curse them to a half-life bound on land.
Eventually, the humans turned away from the Cursed One, as his path only led to destruction and death. Those who find favour with Poseidon are able to wheedle tiny drops of magick from the ancient wellspring. Today, these are the practicers of the White Veil and other shadowy clans who understand the ancient ties we rejected so long ago.
Though never will humans again know the true might of the wellspring, as we are all stained with the sins of the Cursed One, and seek the forgiveness of Poseidon and his pure waters of the sea.
It is believed today that there are no mers left in the world, and if there are, that Poseidon has hidden them well. They say that if a human is able to shed his ego, relinquish his immortal soul and enter the watery kingdoms in peace that the curse will be broken, and humans and mers will be one people, at peace once more.
Pamela closed the book, and set it aside. Cormack’s eyes were wide as he came out of his childish imaginings. He curled himself into a sitting position and grabbed one of his toy wooden boats.
“I shall find the mer people!” he declared, waving the boat in the air. “I will be a great sailor someday and be the very first to find them!”
Pamela ruffled his hair. “I’m sure you’ll find all sorts of kingdoms and peoples when you grow up, lad.”
Cormack scowled at her teasing words. She drew him up by the elbow. His body was heavy, and showing the first signs of coltish adolescence.
“To bed with you.” She sighed as she steered him to the great four-poster. “You can have more adventures tomorrow.”
He clambered up onto the bed, and Pamela pulled up the heavy quilts. Cormack rolled his eyes up to her. “Don’t worry, Pamela. I promise I’ll visit you and write you letters.”
Pamela’s eyebrows rose. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“No, under the sea!” Cormack laughed. “When I find the mers, I’ll still visit you and write you every day!”
She smiled and kissed his forehead. “Dream of your mers, lad. But be careful they don’t gobble you up!”
Cormack nodded, a yawn escaping his lips. “Goodnight, Pamela.”
About the Author
Lauren A.R. Masterson graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a degree in Fiction Writing. During her college days, she began working as a freelance model eventually making it her full-time profession after graduating. She toured nationally, met scores of creative people, and had many adventures. After retiring from modeling, and experiencing a divorce, Lauren felt the drain of her creativity. But after finding a loving and supporting community she began exploring her writing talent and art again. Lauren is now a regular in the local Chicago writing communities and is dedicated to enhancing her craft.