literature

Synnecrosis - Part 1

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The seawater crusted a thin film of salt across his skin, by now punctured only by his perspiration, the cold sweat of panic. He was too young to die. Certainly, seafaring loners had a short life expectancy, but that was because they were poor and that oft left them at gutting whim of pirates like Bloth - not because they'd been scattered as part of their ships debris across the shore and subsequently captured.

Leaving Andorus suddenly seemed like it had been such a bad idea. This terror was nothing like the sense of venomous self-loathing and disappointment at the hands of those who felt he had to be an ecomancer, born of two perfectly capable parents. Until today, that had been the worst fear he'd known, the ridicule of his family and peers in light of failure.

Azur had no strength to defend himself from four people. No kicking and writhing was doing him any good. If they'd had the courtesy to blindfold him rather than simply gag him and bind him and hang him by the wrists off a hook, then perhaps he would remember to breathe normally, at least.

The sight of Dark Water beneath him, however, had tipped him into an erratic, jittery, gasping mess. Some part of him wanted to better articulate his horror, to force words past the gag, but it all bled together - probably for the best, since what little rationality remained in him observed he was unlikely to be coherent.

No explanation.

No introduction.

And then the construction that held him aloft slid out of his bindings and he fell.

The impact only stung lightly against his skin, elastic substance catching him almost gently, but all sensation was drowned out by the sheer force of the panic constricting his throat and twisting his gut into nausea, and the endless seeming stream of pleas to Kunda entwined impossibly with a firm 'No' each, hammering in his skull as if they had a will of their own. And then darkness descended upon him, tendrils of the tar-like substance closing around him like a clasping fist.

Something snapped.

An instant later a howl that was not only his own filled the hall and the elements lashed around him with a force as if something had conjured up hail to strike him, surging past him, shredding the darkness from his skin like a cleansing rain, and a moment later much like the frothing, chaotic waves that had deposited him on the shore, he felt it all recede from him.

Gravity was beside him, no longer beneath, he vaguely became aware as his head rolled against the stone floor and he groaned against the gag. Motions still thick with terror, his eyes fluttered open, expecting themselves perhaps blind to the world, uncertain if they still existed in space and time, uncertain if perhaps the Dark Water had eaten them away.

His sight was fine.

Fine enough, at least, to identify the shadows hurrying toward him as the acolytes that had caught him initially. He tried to will himself to move coordinatedly, bound wrists forcing themselves down against the stone and legs kicking for some kind of traction, but he only folded against himself awkwardly after two metres of thrashing motion. 'Stay back!' shrieked against a gag was no more coherent than his earlier pleas, but so much clearer in his mind.

"No, no," one of the strangers said.

Something was odd about the tone, enough to wrench a sliver of calm through Azur, enough to listen, to parse what was happening. A soothing voice? A reassuring tone? What misplaced trickery was this? He stopped writhing, keeping himself still to gather his energy, while he let his gaze dart down across his body in sudden paranoia. Was there still Dark Water on him? Was he going to die after all?

"I am infinitely sorry. We didn't know you have a bond with Dark Water."

A... bond? He was suddenly aware he'd held his breath, and exhaled sharply, only to draw in a fresh breath with similar force. A bond? He tried to pose the question, it falling prey to the gag like many attempted vocalisations before, escaping him as an undignified "Mrrph?".

Instinct was to jerk away from the approaching hands, of course, and he jolted visibly, his heart hammering in his chest as if it sought to escape; but they were only trying to undo the gag.

An instant later, it was gone, flooding his mouth with the sensation of cool air, something that now felt infinitely dry and foreign. "...a bond?" he uttered, the words more like a warped gasp than the angry enquiry he'd wanted to convey.

"You're a Dark Water ecomancer," the figure informed with a solemn nod, and fingers ran through his hair, damn from the ocean as it was, perhaps attempting to soothe.

"...I..." His heart lurched. An ecomancer. 'What did I just do?' "...I didn't know," he stammered, as if it required apology.
Backstory for a character in Wildcard's slightly altered rendition of the Mer from the Pirates of Dark Water universe. Much artistic liberty. If you're a fan of the show, I am probably butchering at least ten of your favourite concepts. You have been warned.

[Part One]
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four*
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven

* I still have to write this one.
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