Into the Depths: Part Three
Caylis was startled out of her sleep, getting tangled in the silk sheet of her bed. In the depths of the lair of the Drenched, the lack of light had thrown off the Aisha’s sense of time. Pulling herself free, she once again met the emotionless stare of Delphyne.
The Drenched sister led her through the maze of rocky corridors without so much as a sound; after several twists and turns they reached the entrance of a rather large cave, where they were met by Narcissa and Thalassa.
“Welcome, Caylis,” Narcissa exclaimed to the small Aisha child; waving her arm around the large cave as if giving a tour, she explained, “This is where we keep our spell scrolls; we have a collection of ancient tomes on the teaching of magic, that predates the founding of Faerieland itself. Any scholar of sorcery would do just about anything to get even a glimpse at what we have obtained in the course of our nearly limitless lives. And,” she added, taking her free arm to draw Caylis uncomfortably close to her, “you are the first living soul to see it.” Caylis felt like this should be a compliment, yet found no comfort in it. It gave all sorts of evil implications in its utterance.
“You shall begin with the basics: studying and basic spell memory, along with proper hand movement. Thalassa will see to it that you are progressing as desired; she is strict, so be warned and study well. Soon we hope you will master non-verbal spells; as Faeries, we understand Neopets aren’t as naturally attuned to magic. But as we said,” she concluded with a smile, “we believe you to have great potential. We’ll leave you to your work then.” Narcissa then swam out the cave with Delphyne in tow.
Once alone, Thalassa began to grumble under her breath. Caylis, wary of how to approach the Drenched sister, tried to speak up with a weak voiced, “Madam Thalassa?”
The sea witch’s eyes narrowed as they focused on the child. Looming over the small Aisha, she hissed through her teeth, “Child, let me make one thing perfectly clear; I am only going to teach you these things because Narcissa commanded me to. This is my collection of books, regardless of what has been said, and intruders who dared to even touch a page from my texts have been dealt terrible, terrible fates.”
So I was right about what Narcissa had said, Caylis concluded. Not that being right about that sort of thing brought much joy to her heart.
“Furthermore, you had better catch on quickly and get this studying over with, because I am a creature of darkness, not the Library Faerie! Understood?”
Caylis nodded instantly, and remained silent, lest she anger the Water Faerie further. Her moods seemed to be as tumultuous as the seas, with its crashing waves and deadly storms.
“Good,” she said, her voice becoming less harsh, “then let us begin.”
Over the course of the next few days, Caylis hardly did anything but study the ancient texts, from Morguss’ Spell Book to the Scaled Magic Book, as well as the obvious Book of Sea Spells; Thalassa oversaw everything she did, and tested her knowledge after each session, with the threat of using whichever spell she forgot on the child as motivation. After some time Caylis was amazed to find that she did in fact have a knack for magic; feeling the rush of power course through her fingertips and take form in her hands with a bright blue glow was a sensation she could hardly describe.
After making sure that the Aisha had the understanding of using magic, Thalassa began to take more of a hands-on approach to their sessions, often involving the Water Faerie casting spells on Caylis, who would have to try to dodge and then counter them with spells of her own. The Aisha child could not help but notice that Thalassa took a certain glee in her attacks. If she was not careful, Caylis could very well become seriously injured, so it certainly prompted her to become a quick study.
Narcissa would come and visit every now and then in order for Thalassa to report on the Aisha’s progress. She would throw praise upon Caylis for every small accomplishment; although she knew it was falsely given, Caylis could not help but beam under such compliments. After all, she had never heard even sincere ones when she lived in Maraqua. The aura of evil was not as taxing on her as it used to be, for she had lived for quite some time with them all, and had gotten used to the feeling; sometimes she could not even sense it at all. She did not even cringe anymore when she was held in those scaled arms, or when those claws petted her head in mock affection.
I wonder... if this is how a mother would praise her child for their achievements, she wondered, as the Drenched sister held her in a tight embrace. She would wave good bye as Narcissa left, and go back to her spell work with Thalassa.
By practicing with the Drenched sister Caylis also grew to realize that Thalassa was adept at water spells, not just the basics every Water Faerie could do due to their element, but complex spells that would try the talents of even the Uber Water Faerie. Her control of the water element was near perfection, from forming weapons of water to changing the currents within the tunnels.
That explains the whirlpools at the front of their lair, she thought to herself, and how she can control them.
After a truly exhaustive session of practicing spells, Caylis flopped onto her makeshift bed. After nursing the bruise that followed due to her forgetting her bed was nothing more than a large rock, she petted the caged Filamen absentmindedly; she noticed that it was a lot more cheerful since she’d been there, for it hardly ever cried anymore.
It must have been so lonely, being in this cave without anyone else. There only to serve its purpose of giving light to the deep caves and tunnels, nothing more. Once it can no longer serve that purpose, the Drenched would most likely dispose of the poor petpet.
The little Filamen curled up at the bottom of its coral cage and went to sleep, and the light from its body faded as well. Caylis, weary from her studies, yawned, and pulled the silk sheet over her before falling into a deep sleep.
This... this seems familiar somehow. The ocean’s becoming dark and cold, as if all light from the world above had gone out. The currents began to change, swirling rapidly like a whirlpool. A city of coral and shell, its proud turrets once gleaming in the sunlight, now gave the appearance of claws belonging to some dark menace, threatening to crush the city within. In the darkness, those gleaming red eyes appeared once more; eyes filled with hate and vengeance...
Caylis was jolted out of her sleep, being shaken rather roughly. Her heart had been beating erratically, her breathing rapid; she could feel her hands shaking in response to some unknown fear. As she opened her eyes, she met once again the cold blue eyes of Delphyne.
“Are you all right, child?”
Startled by the question of concern, Caylis could do nothing by reply truthfully. “I am all right, I suppose; I must have had another one of my bad nightmares. Strange, though; normally I can recall what happens within my visions, but this time, I cannot seem to remember the details. All I know is what it made me feel: a terror I had never known before.”
After her heart stopped racing, she asked the Water Faerie, “Did you come all this way to see if I was all right, Mistress Delphyne?”
The Drenched sister’s eyes flashed with an indignant air. “I would do no such thing. I happened to be patrolling the corridors when I heard you screaming; I assumed you were injured in some way. Narcissa expects much of you, so I cannot have you dying so easily to ruin her efforts.”
After a moment’s pause, the Drenched sister added, her voice much calmer, “You need to clear your mind before going to sleep; otherwise you will be too weak when your visions overtake you. Visions are a very powerful magic, and are not meant for the weak hearted. You could very well lose your mind if you do not have the strength to withstand these dreams.”
Confused by the dark Water Faerie’s effort at advice, Caylis asked of her, “How could you possibly know of this?”
Delphyne, hesitant at first, replied, “I know these things because I have experienced them first hand. Long ago, I was once a seer; beings from all around Neopia sought me out to receive my visions of prophecy.”
Upon seeing the Aisha’s mouth open in shock, she added, “Yes, child, I am much like yourself; I see things yet to come within the realm of dreams. Although while you seem to only see visions of calamity, mine are not limited to either bad or good. I foresaw the destruction of old Maraqua, the rebuilding of new Maraqua, and where we could find you.”
On this last statement from the dreaded Drenched sister, Caylis was unsure of how to react. This creature, known to have committed many vile and evil acts, had in some way shown her kindness. Her vision must have also told her that she’d be attacked by the small giant squid, and no matter the reason, had in fact saved her life.
“Thank you, Mistress Delphyne,” the Aisha was about to cry out, but the Water Faerie held out her hand. The words were lost before she even opened her mouth, for fear of angering the Faerie, and she was silenced.
“You owe me no further words; I did as my sister Narcissa commanded me, and nothing more. Had she wished it, I could have just as easily let that beast devour you with no qualms upon my mind. And if she were to command otherwise, I would not hesitate in the slightest. Do not forget that, child.”
But as she turned away to leave the small grotto, Caylis could not restrain herself and pried for one more question. “If you were once a seer who spent her life helping others, why did you become a corrupted Water Faerie?”
Delphyne’s eyes darted back to the Aisha child, making Caylis flinch in expectation of some horrid repercussion; did she cross the line and go too far? But the Water Faerie only blinked and replied, “Perhaps you will be allowed to know tomorrow; but for now, you must rest.” And with that, the Drenched sister slithered out through the curtain of seaweed strands.
Caylis, alone once again, lay back down upon her boulder and attempted to go back to sleep. Remembering Delphyne’s words, she did her best to clear her mind of all the troubles and worries of the day; after a while she felt at peace, and she hoped that it would give her at least one night where she was not plagued with her dreams.
To be continued...