Princess of the Waters

This is chapter 4 of my webnovel, The Elementals: Song of Spirit. If you’re on the wrong chapter, or are just starting to read, click here for the linked table of contents. And happy reading! ~ JR

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Chapter 4

Princess of the Waters

“Let me get this straight,” Ellen said, pushing her glasses up her nose. “Poseidon is real?”

“You may begin to tire of asking what is real, Mistress,” Romin answered. “You may as well ask what is not.”

“OK,” Mae retorted. “What is not real?”

Romin thought for a moment, then shook his head. “I don’t know. You humans have mixed reality with fantasy so thoroughly over your history that I can’t tell you, exactly. What I can say is there is a lot more reality than fantasy in our world.”

“But this isn’t our world, though,” Mae argued. Biting her lip, she glanced around at the watery horizons to all sides of their little boat. “Is it?”

“As I said before, Sorceress, this is the Aether Plane. That does not mean it is a different world, however,” Romin answered patiently.

The children stared at him, confused.

The elf thought for a moment. “OK, let me see if I can explain this better. The world both you humans and we sidhe share is what you call the Earth …”

“It’s a planet in space,” Mae contributed. “I learned that in science class years ago.”

Romin waved a hand dismissively. “Yes, yes, Sorceress. It’s also what you call a planet. But within the physical boundaries of this planet are bands of element-based planes. These planes are all a vital part of the Earth, a vital part of the world we all share. Most planes are easily Travelled between, with the exception of the one closest to the Surface of our world, the Earthen Plane – your plane. It is sealed shut.”

“That’s not fair!” Quinn pouted.

“Fair or not, Sir Quinn, it is a fact,” Romin replied.

“Why is it sealed?” Ellen asked, fascinated.

The elf frowned sadly. “It has not always been that way, Mistress. Long ago in your history, humans could move as easily through the planes as anyone, and frequently did. In fact, it is from this that sprang many of what you know of as fictional myths and legends about us sidhe. But, sadly, your race began to fear that which was different. At first that fear was only geared towards those from the darker side of existence, and with good reason; not all sentient creatures are benevolent.”

“What’s that?” Kat asked absently, still eyeing the water with longing.

“Benevolent means nice,” Mae answered before Romin could. “Right?”

The elf nodded. “Simply put, Sorceress, yes. But those who are not so nice feed on fear, and as the fear of your ancestors grew, the malevolent sidhe…”

“… bad guys,” Mae translated.

“Yes, the bad guys,” Romin continued, “visited your plane more and more frequently, killing and kidnapping and otherwise wreaking havoc among mankind. It wasn’t long before the humans began to fear everyone from another plane. Violence became the norm between humans and sidhe. In order to keep the peace, The Great Queen did what She had to do – closed access to and from the Earthen Plane.”

“But you were there,” Ellen pointed out. “And we’re here now. So it wasn’t closed entirely right?”

“Not entirely, no,” Romin confessed. “There are four gates that can still access the Earthen Plane. The Midnight Gate, which is the easiest and quickest way to your own home, is the one most often used. But admittance between the planes must be directly approved by The Great Queen. Unlawful visitations are strictly forbidden.”

“So why were you allowed to come get us then?” Mae asked.

Romin smiled. “As I said, Sorceress, we need you. The Great Queen has paid a great deal of attention to your family for a very, very long time and for a very, very important reason.”

Before the children could ask more, a low, mournful horn blast echoed towards them off the same side of the boat where the mermaids had disappeared.

“Poseidon!” Romin whispered, sinking to his knees on the deck. The children began to do the same, but he waved his hands at them.

“No, no. You five bow to no one but The Great Queen,” he explained. “But… let me do the talking for now?”

Kat nodded absently as she watched the water churn beside their little boat, her excited heart beating so hard in her chest that it almost hurt. Slowly, out of the frothy water rose a legion of bare-chested mermen guards, all holding wicked-looking sharp coral pikes.

At the fore of this small army, a fantastic man emerged from the waves. His head was covered in long, seaweedy green hair and was capped by a sharp-looking white coral crown. On his proud chin grew a beard that matched his hair, and his eyes were shaped much like Romin’s, somewhat slanted and vaguely alien. Their color was the same as his hair, green and seaweedy. As more of the man rose from the water, Kat could see that his skin had an aquamarine tint that matched the ocean in which he swam, and one fist held Poseidon’s unmistakable coral trident like a badge of honor.

This, then, was the true Poseidon of legend. Kat watched him approach the boat, willing herself not to jump in and hug him tight. She couldn’t understand why, but it was undeniable to her then that this impossible god of myth was not only someone she knew and loved but whom she had missed dearly for a very, very long time.

Though she had never even met him before. Had she?

Poseidon studied them for a moment then swam up to the boat, glaring directly at Romin.

“My daughters tell me you have brought human children here,” he scolded. “Is this true, elf?”

Romin nodded, looking at the boat floor. “Yes, Water-Lord. The Great Queen commanded it.”

Poseidon considered this for a moment. “And why was I not informed?”

“With all due respect, Water-Lord, the Queen informs whom the Queen wishes,” Romin answered.

“Hmm,” the god’s gaze left Romin to sweep over the children, landing on Kat. His eyes grew wide as he stared into hers, and a smile of the brightest joy spread across his face.

“My Princess!” he cried, bowing to her. “I did not know… forgive me!”

Looking the god in the eyes broke the rest of Kat’s already weak self-control. As her siblings watched in shock and confusion, the girl ran to the edge of the boat and jumped full-force into the ocean. She emerged within a moment and paddled hard to where the god bobbed, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his weedy cheek. Near the boat, her pink flipflops bobbed loosely in the water.

“Kat!” Ellen called from the boat. “What are you doing?”

“Well, it’s official, you are the crazy one!” Mae shouted.

Poseidon wrapped an arm around Kat, grinning wide. “My Princess! It has been far too long!”

The girl bit her lip, confused. “I know you, don’t I?” she asked quietly, ignoring her siblings’ concerned cries.

Poseidon nodded. “Yes, Princess. We very much know each-other.” He looked back to the boat. “Elf, you have brought our Princess home, and I am overjoyed. However, I fear you have not brought her for idle reasons.”

The elf nodded, holding up a hand against the other childrens’ confused questions. “Yes, Water-Lord. You are unfortunately correct. Adams has begun to stir once again within The Great Empty. We know not the details of his plot, but our spies have revealed enough that The Great Queen has sent for The Elementals for the first time in eons. I am charged with bringing them to their people so that they may train once more.”

Poseidon nodded gravely. “This is truly evil news at any time. But now…”

“I know, Water-Lord,” Romin said. “But we have no choice. You must set aside this animosity for the sake of all.”

The god growled deep in his chest, a sound like waves crashing on a faraway rocky shore.  “This is not some petty argument to be simply put aside, elf.”

“In the face of evil such as Adams’, it is,” Romin countered.

Poseidon looked once more at Kat, obvious longing in his eyes. Slowly, the god nodded, returning his attention to Romin. “As always The Great Queen is wise in her ways. Send my promise to her that the Water-Born will have their champion ready to face Adams when the time comes.”

Romin smiled, relieved. “Thank you, Water-Lord. I must also remind you before you go that the Princess will need special accommodations to reach Atlantis. As a human, she cannot breathe underwater.”

“Human? The Princess is not human!” Poseidon growled.

“She always was half human, Water-Lord,” the elf reminded him.

The god waved a hand dismissively. “Half human or no, the Princess is of the merfolk. She always has been, and always will be. The Great Queen promised that to me and all Water-Born forever!”

Romin nodded. “And she is merfolk still. But over the eons atop the Earthen Plane, the Princess has become more and more human, and has lost the ability to use her water powers entirely. You are charged to build those powers up once more, but for now, she cannot go to Atlantis without air to breathe.”

“It has truly been so long?” Poseidon asked quietly, looking at Kat with sadness.

Romin nodded. “Yes, Water-Lord. Time marches on, as always, and our wishes do not always match up with its journey.”

The god considered. “Then it will be done. The Princess will have all she needs and more. Let it not be said that the Water-Born did not honor their Elemental.”

At this, Poseidon waved a hand above the water beside him. Directly below his hand, it began to roil and froth. Slowly out of the churning waves rose a giant pink-hued bubble, large enough to accommodate a small person.

Poseidon nodded to Kat. “Your chariot awaits, Princess. Our people will be overjoyed to see you once more, home where you belong.”

With the same strange impulsiveness that had caused her to jump into the ocean, Kat paddled over to the bubble and poked a questing finger at it. She giggled as her finger passed through the pink-hued lining with no more difficulty than a small tickle. Her siblings began once again to call to her from the boat, but her mind was far from them now. Pushing her hand in, she followed with her arm, shoulder, and finally her entire body. She grinned lovingly at the god as she settled crossed-legged into the bottom curve of the bubble, perfectly comfortable.

The Water-Lord gave Romin one last curt nod. “Until The Great Queen sends for her once more,” he said formally. Holding a hand up, he sunk back into the waves, taking the bubble – and Kat – with him.

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3 Responses to “Princess of the Waters”

  1. […] Chapter 4: Princess of the Waters […]

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