TALES OF THE ANCIENTS
Told by MURIGEN:: aminoapps.com/p/1o2lpb
, written by KA0S:: aminoapps.com/p/mp542e
“Our story begins around the same time as the gods themselves rose to prominence.” She gently waved her hand through the water, and as it moved around the merfolk gathered in the throne room, it began to shimmer and form shapes. “We are the ancients. Our story begins with Atalante, the oldest of us all.” As she spoke, the water formed a woman, wild hair flowing around her face and down her body. She was dressed in armor and holding a sword and shield, her face a fierce battle mask. “An Amazon queen. The fiercest of them all, but betrayed by her own sister.” The scene changed as Muirgen spoke and animated what she told, transporting her audience back in time. “Above all, Atalante loved her family, her husband and three children. She loved her sister as well, having been her best friend since they could walk. This night, however, treachery struck. Her sister coveted the throne and the power that came with it, without respect of the responsibility she would have to shoulder. While Atalante was away battling their foes, her sister murdered her nieces and brother in law, assuming command in Atalante’s absence. When she returned from war, it was to an empty home and a pain she could have never imagined.” Muirgen pauses to let the scene play out before continuing. “The bodies of her loved ones had been left to rot, mutilated. Distracted as she was by grief, she became aware of the presence of her sister’s lackeys too late. They bound her in chains and threw her from the highest cliff into the ocean. Her scream of rage was so strong that it moved the gods Hades, Persephone, Poseidon, and Zeus. Zeus struck her with his lightning, restarting her heart. Poseidon gave her the form which we all now hold. Persephone gave her the ability to walk once more on land, if she so chose. And Hades gave her the power to resurrect other wronged souls and bless them with the same gifts as she. Her first act was vengeance. Atalante emerged from the sea and slew her sister and any who had supported the coup. None of her people were spared, as they had all wanted her dead. Heartbroken, she returned to the depths and summoned a beast to wreak havoc on ships. You know it as the kraken. For two thousand years, she was alone. Then, she heard a soul crying out across the waves, and without thinking, she formed the second mermaid.” Muirgen smiled sadly, waved her hand again, and the image of Atalante was replaced with one of her. “I was a Celt, the ones before even the Viking age. I was there before the building of the Henges, and I was a powerful warrior priestess under the protection of the Morrigan. My powers, as well as my battle prowess I ensured that the Kinsey clan, now forever gone, were undefeated in battle. We were bold, fierce people who gave no mercy and asked for none, but we sought no war out. One day, a neighbouring clan chieftain, the Macintosh, declared war on us, but his goal was only ever me.” As she talked, her face and voice grew ever sadder. “I was ambushed under a sacred moon in an ash grove, the last place any such thing should happen. The men who killed me laughed and took pride in their cowardice as they slipped their knives through my ribs. Then, they dropped me in the shallows and left me to listen to the screams of my clan as they were slaughtered. I could do nothing but lay there and bleed out as I was swept out to sea.” The scene changed again, showing Atalante cupping her hand around a glowing orb. “Then she found me and gave me a second breath of life, as well as the same chance she had. I, too, chose to return to my lands, but there was no one to find. My entire family lay dead, and the only body I could not find was that of my beloved, whose life force was gone, but whose body was never to be found. I searched for days before finally having to return to the waters, and as the centuries passed, I swore I could sense him near, though I could never find him.” Muirgen brushed her fingers down the watery face of the warrior who she loved and had been parted from before wiping the scene away again. “As the years passed and melted away into memory, Atalante and I searched the seven seas for souls, but it was four thousand years more before we came across the next. Knowing her, she’s probably listening in right now.” She flashed a smile at Einara. “The next two stories converge, with mere months separating their deaths, but I will begin with Cressida. Born of the lineage of Apollo through her mother, she became the oracle of Delphi.” The next face to appear was that of a woman with gentle eyes, unfocused on anything material. “The years of her life were spent sheltered and pampered, making her soft in the ways of war compared to the rest of us. Her family, however, had been engaged in a decade long campaign against a Viking tribe. The irony of this is that the sister of her mother, her aunt, had been captured a year before Cressida had been born, by a powerful jarl, one also descended from the gods, but his lineage was that of Loki, the trickster. Made a slave, she eventually bore the jarl a daughter.” Einara’s face swirled into existence beside Cressida’s, the similarities between the two made obvious. “This daughter, born a slave, grew up to be a shrewd tactician, gaining the recognition of her father and thus, legitimacy.” Muirgen’s voice grew dark. “While Cressida spent her years pacifying powerful men with prophecies, Einara grew into a formidable shield maiden, constantly bettering her older half-brothers, unknowingly earning their jealousy. Jealousy, which, in the form it took within their hearts, turned to poison and hate. The years of the wars passed, and gradually, Einara and Cressida began playing ever greater roles in the outcome of the battles.” Looking at Einara, a pensive expression on her face, Muirgen paused for so long that everyone began to think she had stopped her tale. But just as Nila began to stir, she continued, quieter than before. “Cressida and Einara were both, in a way, responsible for their own deaths. Cressida gave her uncle, a powerful naval commander, the knowledge that he would die at the hand of his niece, meaning Einara. For this, he had her taken aboard his galley and thrown into the Mediterranean. As cruel fate would have it, as she sunk like a stone through the waters, she drifted into a field of jellyfish and was stung to death.” Muirgen shuddered, but kept speaking. “And now we finish with the story of Einara. Of the four of us, she is the most powerful and the most unpredictable. She carried the direct bloodline of two pantheons in very different religions. Loki and Apollo. She gained from her lineage, in her human life, divination. From there, she dabbled in dark magicks, but that can be skipped over. It was this power that made her rise in her father’s favour, and this power that ultimately killed her.” Her eyes fixed on Einara, sadness once again stealing across her face. “She used this power of hers to help her father and brothers, her mother having died when she was young. But jealousy in human hearts is deadly. You can imagine, four young men, princes in their own right, passed over in favour of an illegitimate daughter born a slave. Arrogant and cruel, covetous of power, they sent the youngest of them to follow her into the woods where she went to scry the battle that would end up killing her father. He saw her magicks, and he was struck by fear, running to tell his brothers what he had seen. The oldest brother decided to wait until after the battle they were going to fight, for as much as he hated his sister, he understood the advantage of having her advise their father of victory. This battle though, tipped the scales. Wading through the heart of the fight, flanked by the fierce Einara, the jarl came face to face with Cressida’s uncle, who had only days before, killed his own niece. He struck the jarl through the neck with a lance, something Einara had not seen, killing him instantly. In a rage, she in turn struck down the commander, turning the tide of the battle in the favour of the Vikings. They won the war, but at a terrible cost. And when they returned home, her brothers, angry anew at her, holding her responsible for the death of the jarl, accused her of witchery.” As pain danced across Einara’s face, Muirgen ended the story. “The priests sentenced her to die, but cruelly forced her to take her own life, denying her a warrior’s death. She chose to die bravely anyway, and threw herself into the stormy seas, lightning highlighting her fall as if Thor himself mourned. Atalante and I had found Cressida a week before Einara’s death, and were guided by a prophecy from her to find our Viking shieldmaiden. Just as she gave us the prophesy that brought us here.” She sat up a little straighter and looked each mer in the eyes before fixing her gaze on Lyra and reciting: “To the west, the west, a new darkness rises. From the west, it moves east and ever down. The dark below moves against the dark above. Against how it goes, the greater dark from the north joins the small dark defending. Where dark converges, light can be found, if looked for in the right place.” Heaving a breath, she looked at Nila and Chai. “This is why we are here, and why you should not worship us as goddesses. There is more to the story of Einara, but I will leave that to her to share, if she will, for it is not my place to say.”
Plot and story developed by TIF™️:: aminoapps.com/p/5ehi5
& KA0S:: aminoapps.com/p/mp542e
In audience of the characters of Merlore.
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