Well, this is my first post since I got home! I can’t believe I’m allowed to talk directly to you all now…humans, I mean. Although I’m afraid life back at home has seemed kind of dull compared to everything that happened at the MerCouncil. So I guess I’ll start by telling you more about Obsidian, since I suppose he’s a bit of a mystery. I think a recent experience describes him pretty well! It went something like this:
Lounging on the stone seat next to the one window in my room, I stared out from the icy walls of my self-induced confinement, longing to see my new friends. I’d been home for a week already and it felt less familiar than the place I’d just left.
The tension had been palpable since Obsidian had returned. When I’d finally convinced him to go to our parents and at least let them know he was alive and well, it had turned into an ugly scene. Mother cried, Father blew up, Sid yelled right back. The silence on the ride home was so heavy I thought I would suffocate. It was unbearable. Not even my mother’s attempt at small talk could break it, so eventually we all sat quietly and waited for it to be over. That’s all I’ve been doing, I thought to myself. Waiting.
I watched Obsidian wrestle with Snowflake in the waters outside the castle. The two ton whale had quite the advantage on my brother, but he was strong and fast. Snowflake’s a little like her namesake, I thought with a smile. She tends to just drift along, always with a bit of a dreamy look in her eye. She moves slowly and as she pleases. Not quite your typical “Killer Whale”. In fact, she’s almost the opposite of such a title. Sweet, gentle, shy—she has no idea how big and powerful she is. Which is probably why Sid has adopted her as his pet. He’s always been fiercely defensive of “under seals”.
Just then, as if to illustrate my thoughts, Snowflake got tired of wrestling and plunked her big tail fin down on top of Sid, pinning him to the ground with such a heavy carelessness I could almost feel myself getting squished right along with him! I started to laugh, but it turned into a shriek when a squawking, hurdling bundle of grey fuzzy down smacked up against the window. I laughed until tears came rolling down my cheeks at the dazed, puzzled, and miffed look that settled on my penguin friend’s face as he slid down the window onto my lap.
“Oh Pepper, you always know what to do to make me smile,” I wiped my eye with one finger and smiled down at him. He seemed delighted at the attention and stretched his neck up to nuzzle my hand before darting off to chase the reflection that a glowstone sitting on a ledge in my wall was casting on the ceiling.
“Stop that, you little minnow!” I chastised him when he pecked at the spot and broke off a piece of ice. With a glance over my shoulder to make sure Obsidian was still outside with Snowflake, I took ahold of one of Pepper’s slippery flippers and pulled him along with me, shooting out of my doors and into the hall beyond. This is a sort of round hall, with a high ceiling and an ice sculpture clinging to it like a stalactite. The opening to each of my siblings and my room are adjoining the hall with each of our names carved above it. One opening, though, leads to the main part of the castle: a great big hall in which there is basically nothing except for a huge ice sculpture of my family on a pedestal in the middle. Swimming through the hall, I paused by it, looking at the stern brow of my father, the gentle smile of my mother, the beaming faces of my two little sisters, the happy look in my eyes, and Obsidian, his arm around my shoulders and his usual broad grin on his face. Oh Sid, everything is so different now. Why did you not just stay with us?
Suddenly, there was a hand over my mouth, a strong arm around my waist and I was flying through the water! Out the castle doors, and up, up, up above my home until it was just a speck in the distance below. Inwardly screaming and terrified, my mind was desperately trying to make sense of who (or what?!) could swim at such a speed! Squirming, I fought to turn my head to see who my captor was, and then we stopped, hard. As soon as I was released, I whipped around coming face-to-face with Sid!
“What was that?” I yelled, my pale cheeks pink with anger. I’ve always hated the way my voice squeaks when I yell so I quickly calmed myself and repeated the question. “What the kraken was that, Obsidian? You scared me to death! That was cruel!” My heartbeat was still racing with fear and I took a couple of deep breaths to calm myself.
Sid, ever the unrepentant devil, still smiled broadly and chuckled to himself. “Aw come on Crys! I never woulda let you get hurt! You were perfectly safe,” he came towards me to wrap his arms around me in a hug, but I turned away although it just made me feel worse. “Hey,” he came around to look me in the eyes, his playful grin replaced with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry, Crys. I didn’t mean to scare you, honest. I just wanted to show you what I can do now!” He wrapped his arms around me and this time I let him. “I had to break the tension around here, sis.”
We stayed like that for a moment before his words sank in. I pulled back. “Wait, what? Sid, how are you able to swim that fast?”
A mischievous look crept across his face. He leaned in close and whispered, “I’ve been testing my powers.”
Every first born of the ruler of each MerKingdom, is blessed with a power. Since we are twins, Obsidian and I are both gifted. I was given the power to create ice. Sid was given the power to create heat. We used to have epic battles when we were younger, usually resulting in ice splinters or scorch marks. Conveniently, whichever twin had done the damage, the other could usually fix it.
“What?” I exclaimed, surprised. He nodded, looking like an excited guppy. “It started out when I was with the orcas on their migration,” he began to explain. His face and hands were animated whenever he told a story and I couldn’t help but get drawn into it. “I couldn’t really keep up with them; orcas are faster than they look. So I started doing these little races with Snowflake, to build up my muscles, you know? And every time I raced her, I lost. It got me thinking, what if there was some way to go faster using my power? So one day, when we were racing, I tried boosting myself with heat and I took off! Faster than I had ever gone before! Snowflake was way behind me before she even knew what had happened.” He laughed at the memory of what I could guess was a shocked and disgruntled orca. I giggled a little too.
Sid took my hands. “This is amazing, isn’t it? I could really do some good with this.” I breamed up at him, amazed at the sincerity in his voice, and his great desire to do something good. The unspoken desire to win back our father’s approval hung between us, I knew but I wouldn’t embarrass him by mentioning it. His brilliant blue eyes were shining as I told him, “Yes. Yes Sid, you really truly can.”
A nibbling on my tail startled me and I looked down. “Pepper!” I laughed as the little penguin came somersaulting into my arms. The adoration in his eyes made me hug him close. “You lovely little birdbrain,” I cooed.
“Hey Snowflake! You found me, girl!” My brother was a little less successful in catching his pet than I’d been. I laughed at his attempt to wrap his arms around the big sweet mammal.
For a minute everything was quiet while we snuggled our little (or great big) FinFriends. Then Sid looked at me with a wicked look in his eye.