The Ugly Maraquan Krawk
|Although the Maraquans are usually seen as freaks by the
rest of the world, it doesn't seem to bother them, for they in turn see the freaks
among their own.
Doryenne peered out at the subaquean world from
the darkness of her cave. She despised going outside, not because of how she
felt of the other Maraquans she would meet there, but because of how those Maraquans
felt about her. Doryenne wasn't like all the other Maraquan Krawks in her neighborhood;
she was different. Even her parents couldn't explain her physical abnormality.
You see, Doryenne's pelvic fins were much larger than those of normal Maraquan
Krawks, almost the same size as her arms. Not only that, but she also had a
pair of similar-size fins growing out of her back, near her shoulder blades,
as if she had a split dorsal fin. It is because of this that Doryenne finds
herself under close protection from her parents, as well as her being given
the nickname "Freaky Fins" by the neighbors' kids.
Because of how her difference made it nearly
impossible for her to find friends, Dory came to resent it. She tried several
methods of hiding her abnormality from herself and the world, including wrapping
up the fins on her back with kelp when she went out for a swim, or burying them
in the sand when she laid down to rest on the sea floor. No matter what she
did, at some point she was reminded of her difference, usually when other Maraquans
her age would swim out from behind their hiding places among the rocks and reefs
to taunt her.
"Hey, look, here comes the freak with the funny
fins," one Maraquan Chomby called out. Doryenne had thought that the coast was
clear when she decided to come out for her morning swim. At the Chomby's words,
his friends gathered and began calling attention to Doryenne.
"Hey, four-fins, where are you swimming? Back
to your mom, the sea slug?" A Maraquan Acara fell over laughing at her own joke.
Her friend, a Maraquan Mynci, chimed in, "No,
silly, the sea slug's her dad. Her mom's Chiazilla!" To that, everyone laughed.
Doryenne had enough. She turned around and swam
straight back to where the crowd was. They in turn responded by screaming and
swimming off back to their hiding places. "Watch out, here comes Freaky Fins!
Don't let her touch you, or you'll become a freak too!" the Mynci said.
"STOP MAKING FUN OF MY PARENTS!" Doryenne cried.
"They're none of your business!" But her retort was only met with silence, as
her verbal assailants had already retreated to where hence they came. With a
partly exasperated, partly deeply depressed sigh, she turned and headed off
in her original direction.
She kept swimming until she had crossed over
the edge of the reef community; at that point a flicker of movement caught her
eye. That Chomby! "Go away! Leave me ALONE!" Doryenne screamed in the direction
of the movement, but whatever it was had gone, and there came no response. Close
to reaching her breaking point again, Doryenne sobbed and swam rapidly away,
off into the deep blueness of the open ocean. However, she still couldn't shake
the feeling that someone or something was following her and watching her, although
she no longer cared enough to turn around and look to make sure.
If there was one thing her extra fins were good
for, it was speed. With her four large fins she could outswim any other creature
back where she lived. Perhaps it was because the other kids were jealous of
her as to why they ridiculed her. But why did they have to poke fun at her parents?
Doryenne contemplated this as she swam. It wasn't their fault she was a freak.
They tried very hard to find out why she turned out to be like this, but they
could find no answer. All they knew was that when Doryenne's egg entered the
nursery, neither her mother or her father knew what could have happened to it
in the expanse of time before it was brought back to where Doryenne's mother
waited in the birthing room.
Doryenne wondered. Who would know what could
have possibly happened to her when she was an egg during that time? She knew
that Water Faeries looked over the Maraquan nursery nests, but they were never
known to actually do anything to the eggs that would cause the hatchlings to
become deformed; in fact, they were there to make sure that the hatchlings were
happy and healthy. They probably wouldn't have been able to tell that Doryenne
would develop those fins, since they only appeared on her body when she turned
five years of age. Or would they have known in advance, being the Faeries that
they are and having the mystical powers they could have used to detect her deformity?
Suddenly, another flicker of movement caught
Doryenne's attention, bringing her out of her pensive state. But like the last
one, it was gone in a split second. Somewhere close by, she heard a noise. It
sounded like a deep, throbbing growl. She turned to look behind her and found
herself face-to-face with what looked to be a very large, very hungry blue Jetsam.
Screaming in terror, she turned and bolted off in the opposite direction, looking
for some kind of shelter in which to hide herself. Stupid Krawk! She mentally
scolded herself. You should have watched where you were swimming! You're nowhere
NEAR the reefs now, you're out in the open ocean! There's nowhere to hide!
Coming to this realization, she ended up having
to swim in a straight line, as fast as she possibly could. Although she was
still naturally fast, the Jetsam was faster. She could feel it creeping up behind
her, preparing to overtake her and devour her…
She felt a slight tugging at her fins. The Jetsam?
She opened one eye to look, and met the gaze of a beautiful Water Faerie. Opening
her other eye and turning to look, she noticed that she was flanked by two Water
Faeries, each one taking hold of one of the fins on her back. The Jetsam was
still behind her, gaining on her.
"Help me!" Doryenne cried out in a wheeze to
the Faeries. But the Faerie on her left side only turned to face the one on
Doryenne's right side.
"Ready?" it asked.
"Ready for what?" Doryenne asked in reply, puzzled.
"Ready!" said the other Faerie, and in unison
they pulled down on the fins.
"Ow!" Doryenne yelped, just before the change
in water flow over her fins caused her to change direction, sending her straight
up. Within a split second she shot right up out of the water, into the air,
where large clouds were spread across the sky above. But before the forces of
gravity could pull her back down towards the ocean's surface, where the Jetsam
followed and was waiting with open jaws, a sudden strong wind grabbed Doryenne's
body and whisked her skyward, much to her discontent. "Heeeeeeelp!!!" she screamed,
watching as the surface of the ocean seemed to become less and less rough as
she gained altitude, in a similar manner that the ripples on the sea floor began
to diminish as she put more distance between herself and it when she swam. Somehow,
that effect seemed to calm her, although her heart was still racing as she was
swept up into the clouds.
Surrounded by the cool, moist clouds, she felt
her tenseness ebbing away. Something about this felt familiar to her, as if
she was swimming through the soft sea foam that sprayed off from the ocean waves
on rough days. As she was just getting used to the feeling, she found herself
above the clouds, resting on a rock in the middle of a large pool of water,
into which flowed a tall, glistening waterfall.
She felt as if she had been jerked back to reality,
but what kind of reality was this? She had never been above the clouds before,
much less above the ocean. Although she had heard legends of the world where
the Water Faeries come from, known as Faerieland, she was never actually given
an account of what it looked like. Maybe this is Faerieland, she thought to
herself. Strange, a pool of water with a rock, supported by the clouds. Looking
up, she noticed that she was surrounded by Faeries. Doryenne recognized the
Water Faeries, but the legged Faeries with blue wings and lighter blue dress
were foreign to her. What kind of Faeries were these?
She turned her attention to a Water Faerie that
came forth and approached her, alone. "I'm very sorry about the wild ride coming
up here," the Faerie said in a calming, fluid voice. "But we felt it was time
that you learned your true calling. No creature blessed by the Faeries should
suffer a life of ridicule like that which you have led. We never meant any harm
when we intervened in your physical development following your birth and hatching."
Doryenne was taken aback.
"My physical development? So it was you who
gave me these… these mutated fins?"
"My dear… we deeply regret the fact that we
never truly finished what we had started so long ago. We didn't mean for you
to grow up with extra fins, we meant to bless you with something more fitting
of you as a creature blessed by the Faeries."
The Water Faerie backed up, spreading her arms
wide. Above her head, an orb of blue light appeared, resolving into the shape
of what looked to Doryenne like a necklace. The Water Faerie took it down and
brought it to Doryenne, placing it around the Maraquan Krawk's neck.
"This is a magical necklace, worn only by Water
Faeries. We give it to you, as a device of protection as well as a sign that
you are a creature of the Water Faeries and are more deserving of respect among
those who might ridicule you for your differences."
The Water Faerie turned and swam back to join
the circle of Faeries that surrounded Doryenne. "Th-thank you," Doryenne stammered,
surprised that a Faerie would do something so kind as to offer her a gift, when
back where she came from the only gifts she got were from her parents, the only
people she could feel happy with in a world where she was taunted by strangers.
Just then, a Faerie of the foreign kind stepped forth, her dress seeming to
flow in the cool breeze.
"We are the Air Faeries of Faerieland, the main
reason why you were given those, so you say, 'extra fins'. But because we aren't
fully able to venture down into the underwater realm of Maraqua, where you were
born, we were not able to complete the spell that we cast on you in order to
fully develop your 'fins'. So now, in this sacred Rainbow Fountain, we shall
finish what we had started, as our gift to you."
With that, the Air Faerie stepped back and rejoined
the circle of Faeries. Each Faerie then raised their hands up above their heads
and began chanting in a strange, unified tone. Doryenne watched them, confused
by their behavior. What was this 'gift' that the Air Faeries were going to give
her? What was this 'spell' they had tried to cast on her, but failed in completing,
so many years ago? Suddenly, she began to feel a tingling in the fins on her
back. She turned her head around to look and was surprised to see them glowing
with a bright blue light. They shifted position, moving into place directly
over her respective shoulder blades, then began growing in length until each
one was at least as long as her tail. Seeing her fins transforming in such a
strange way caused it to dawn on her - these weren't fins to begin with, in
fact, they were never fins at all. They were wings!
As the Faeries ended their chanting, the glow
from Doryenne's wings died away. For once, Doryenne looked at the appendages
on her back and was delighted. Unlike the short, stubby fins she once had, these
wings were big, beautiful, and seemed to radiate with Faerie grace. She tried
flapping them for the first time, gaining a bit of altitude, and then spread
them out to catch the air and glide back down. The Faeries clapped and cheered,
glad that they were able to make their Krawk happy as well.
"Thank you!!!" Doryenne called out, kicking
the air with her wings to bring her back up. "Thank you so much!" The fairies
called back their individual welcomes in gleeful voices, waving in farewell
as Doryenne turned and sailed off, down into the clouds and back towards her
home, where she knew no one would look at her for her deformity ever again,
but instead from now on for her beauty and grace, given to her from the gifts
from the Faeries.