A New Mermaid Tale from Mermaiden Destiny
“Welcome to the MerCouncil.” I shivered a little in my seat and glanced at Serena. She looked pale in the light of the dim glow stones lighting the cavern all around us. I turned my attention back to the old merman hovering above his seat. He was wrinkled and had long gray hair and a flowing beard. He had eyes that were piercingly blue and skin so pale that it almost took on a blue tinge. His tail was a deep gray color. All in all, he looked pretty intimidating, especially in his black Council robes. All the Council members wore them.
The merman began to speak. “I am Darek, Chancellor of the MerCouncil. This meeting has been called together in order to discuss the long standing dispute of the connection between the Human and MerWorlds. Although we have addressed this difficult situation many times, we have decided, in light of new evidence, that we need to address it once more. For this reason, we will now invite Waverlee, Mermaiden of the Pacific Ocean, to stand and recount her recent experience involving a human posing as a mermaid.”
Wow, I thought, they don’t fish around! I watched as Waverlee hopped up out of her seat and took the spotlight, fluffing her hair a little before beginning her story. “As Darek mentioned, two weeks ago I had a strange and wonderful experience. Bubbles, that’s my best finfriend dolphin, and I had gotten up way early to go collect seashells on the beach. We totally could have found some on the ocean floor and closer to home but the ones up near the humans are so much more interesting and shiny! It’s like someone polishes them every day or something, I—” The middle aged mermaid sitting next to Darek cleared her throat and stared at Waverlee with dark eyes that told everyone that she was not to be messed with. Waverlee’s voice died off, but she quickly cleared her throat and began again.
The middle-aged mermaid sitting next to Darek cleared her throat and stared at Waverlee with dark eyes that told everyone she was not to be messed with. Waverlee’s voice died off, but she quickly cleared her throat and began again.
“Uh…so, yeah. Well, we were on our way and I stopped to watch the humans on the beach. I climbed up onto a rock pretty far out, but close enough to where I could see everything on the beach perfectly. I made sure to stay hidden and I was just sitting there and admiring a lovely little girl in a yellow polka dotted outside, when all of a sudden, I saw something amazing! I saw a young human stand up on the white sand of the beach and she looked exactly like a mermaid! She had a tail that was a shimmering pink color, almost as pretty as mine,” Waverlee paused and smiled down at her own pink tail. I heard Frank, who was hidden in my hair, groan and I knew he was rolling his eyes. I smiled to myself as Waverlee continued, “As I watched her, the little person leaned down and pulled her tail up from the bottom and two little legs popped out! Then she started to walk! And all the other humans were acting just like it was the most ordinary thing, seeing a fake mermaid walking on land. Which made me wonder, if humans today think merfolk don’t exist or hate us or something, why are they dressing up like us? And it made me think that maybe humans do know about us and so maybe we don’t have to keep ourselves secret anymore!” Waverlee smiled up at all of us and then sat down with a flounce of her golden curls.
I sat really still and peeked at my dad out of the corner of my eye. His brown face was a mask of calm, but his dark eyes seemed concerned and anxious. I looked to my right at my mother and saw that her brow was furrowed in concentration and her lips were pressed together. They both looked so focused and adamant. I had no idea what to think of the humans and their removable tails! To be honest, it didn’t surprise me all that much. When I go to see the carnival, humans dress up as crazy things all the time! I once saw a man who dressed up as an octopus, and it was a very convincing costume!
I looked around at the other mermaidens to see how they were taking this news. Jia was sitting motionless with a look of careful contemplation on her face. Crystal looked a little like she was about to pass out—she was even paler than usual! Brynn appeared pretty surprised at the news and was muttering to herself. Zoey seemed to be ready to fall asleep at any moment, but she looked like she was at least taking the story in. Serena wore a poised and calm expression, but I could see the storm of questions and uncertainty in her pretty brown eyes.
The Chancellor rose from his seat again and swept his wise gaze over us. “Today the question has been raised once more: Will the Human and MerWorlds finally be introduced? There are many merfolk on each side of this particular debate. But for now, we would like to hear each MerKing’s opinion and thoughts on the story shared. You may voice concerns, questions, or comments on what Mermaiden Waverlee has told us. King Lyron, would you please proceed first?”
It wasn’t really a question. I looked up at my dad, feeling as anxious as though it were me who had been called on to speak. He thrust himself up from his seat and cleared his throat, immediately drawing all eyes to him. My mother is an excellent public speaker, but my dad is more like me. We prefer the attention of a few people at a time and tend to stay away from huge groups.
My dad began to speak, “I believe that Mermaiden Waverlee makes an excellent point. If humans really are allowing their young to dress as merfolk, they certainly have changed. If what she says is true, then they very well may have become a decent and civilized people, unlike the barbarians that attacked our own ancestors in the past. But I believe that if we have any chance of getting along with the humans, we will have to change as well. We may not have started the Great War of the Sea, the conflict which divided us from the humans, but our ancestors undoubtedly didn’t treat the war as a peaceful people would. Many humans were drowned, and worse, because of us. I believe that it is time we made up for our part in that tragedy and I agree that if they have changed, it may be time to finally end the separation.”
I heard my father draw in a deep breath and then he nodded to emphasize his point before sitting down. There was a little pause before Jia’s father, King Takumi, who was sitting to my left, stood up and began to give his own speech. I looked up and surveyed the faces of the MerCouncil. There were smiles and frowns, pursed lips and furrowed brows. I felt Frank, who was hidden inside my heap of tight curls, scuttle across my head. He hadn’t spoken much to me since I had reprimanded him for yelling at Waverlee. He is very sensitive about getting in trouble.
Each MerKing spoke his opinion in turn. King Takumi was very eloquent in everything he said, a lot like Jia. He said that he agreed it was possible that the humans had changed but was in favor of a short observation time, where we would basically spy on the humans to make absolutely sure that they meant us no harm.
Crystal’s father isn’t much like her. While she is very quiet, he has a deep booming voice, which he is fond of using. Although he also agreed on the points made previously, he was adamant that not all merfolk may be ready to move on, forgive and change. King Orion pointed out that some of the very old merfolk remember their parents’ accounts of the War very well and will be hesitant to take the chance of letting history repeat itself.
Brynn’s father, King Murdoch, was headstrong about his opinion but supported much of King Orion’s arguments. “Just because one wee little human lass was wearing a removable mermaid tail, doesn’t mean the whole lot of them have changed, does it?”
Zoey, who finally seemed to take an interest in the conversation, seemed very much into the debate when it was her father’s turn. King Brock told us that he would be eager to learn from the humans and communicate with them. He did agree that we should be careful, though. An observation period on “the bobbers is a right fine idea,” according to the Aussie MerKing. I laughed a little at this and Zoey gave me a wide grin.
Serena’s father seemed very thoughtful and speculative. He told us that he fully supported the idea of finally making contact with the land dwellers. He also drew attention to the fact that there is a lot that we can learn from the humans. “Much has changed in our society since the Great War,” King Delmar declared. “I imagine the humans have, too.”
Since Waverlee gave her speech at the beginning, her father, King Francisco, simply stated that he agreed with her wholeheartedly, although he warned that not all humans are what they seem. When everyone was finally done speaking, I sighed deeply and was suddenly aware of my stomach rumbling loudly. Darek rose from his seat again and all whispering immediately died away. He looked around at us with those piercing eyes and then announced, “Thank you, MerKings, for your valuable contributions. We, the MerCouncil, will now retire for the night to ponder what we have heard today. We bid you all a good night, Mermaidens.”
With that, we were formally excused. My dad held out his arm to me and my mom and escorted us out. As soon as we’d left the huge, dark room, I felt a hand around my wrist and Waverlee appeared in front of me.
“Come on, come on, Destiny. Hurry! They have this great room set up for all of us Mermaidens with games and food and fun, fun, fun! Let’s go!” She was practically bouncing up and down and squealing in my ear. I couldn’t keep the smile from my face as I glanced at my parents with the question in my eyes. My mom reached out and squeezed my hand and said, in a low rich voice that reminds me of chocolate, “Go. Have fun with your new friends. Remember to get some sleep tonight though. You’ll need your rest for tomorrow.” My dad smiled at me and nodded at her words. I beamed at them and then quickly let myself be pulled away by Waverlee and my five brand new sisters.