Vivien sat on the shore, waiting for Sasha to emerge from the water. The sand was white under her feet, and the sun scorched her, for she wore a full suit of armor, the emblem of the mermaids embossed on her shield. When she fell into the ocean as a small child, a mermaid had saved her, and in accordance with their rules, she now owed them a life debt. She could have run away easily, after all, the mermaids where bound to the sea and Vivien could travel anywhere. But she became fascinated with the mermaids, and besides, they would never use their compulsion on her, would they? Vivien tried to focus on that point, but her thoughts soon became fuzzy, intangible as a trick of the light, and then Sasha emerged from the water.
“There you are Vivien. Do you mind pulling me out of the water and moving me to that tide pool over there?” Vivien picked up Sasha and carried her to the tide pool, struggling under the weight of Sasha’s large dolphin-like tail. In her haste, she stumbled twice, then tripped and released Sasha into the pool. Sasha quickly trapped a crab and bit into it’s shell with her pointy teeth. Vivien sat at the side of the pool, waiting for Sasha to ask for transport again. She heard splashing from the pool and leaned over the side of it to see Sasha fighting another mermaid.
“Sasha!” Vivien exclaimed. The other mermaid bit into Sasha’s arm and Vivien plunged her sword into the water, slicing into the unknown foe. The mermaid grabbed the sword with her teeth and pulled, forcing Vivien to plunge into the water, where she plummeted to the bottom from the weight of her armor. Swiftly as she could underwater, Vivien tore at the straps confining her in the armor. She watched helplessly as the enemy scratched Sasha across the face, then ripped into her neck. Vivien screamed in protest, lungs filling with water, pulling the last of her armor off and she treaded water, trying to get to Sasha. But when she wrapped an arm around her, she suddenly felt confused as to why she was fighting to save her. The foe mermaid grabbed Vivien and pulled her out of the pool, and she threw up water. After an extensive coughing fit, she crawled over to the pool and watched blood dye it.
“I don’t understand, why did you kill Sasha? Why do I feel…lost?” The mermaid perched on the lip of the tide pool.
“Poor human. You were under Sasha’s compulsion. She used a spell to alter your memories and make you do her bidding. That sort of thing can last years. When was the last time you recall your family, or where you live?” Vivien thought a moment, her mind clearing.
“My family lives in the village up the northwest mountains. I was a knight, but when the king died, I was put on a boat to be his brother’s knight in a faraway land. After a shipwreck, the mermaid saved me. How old was I then? 17? It’s been so many years!” The mermaid nodded.
“It was powerful magic. I am Coraline. If you need to be freed from a mermaid again, don’t hesitate to ask. I hate the trickery some beings will pull. Please do be on your way home; before another mermaid catches you.” Vivien picked up her sword and armor and headed up the mountain, disorientated, but free.