Into the Depths: Part Six
Distraught and overcome with grief, Caylis began to shake erratically; her eyes started to roll into the back of her head, and her body jolted as if moved by an unseen force. The young Aisha went into a trance-like state; though her eyes were wide open, she began to have a vision such as the precognitive dreams within her fitful slumbers:
She remembered this dream now; the dream that had been slipping from her memory like water through a sieve was suddenly coming back to her. Like in her previous dreams, the seas had gone cold and dark, as a strange mass descended from the land above. Unlike her dreams, however, the vision was clearer: she saw an image of a large ship, which sailed with pirates’ colors. How could this be, a ship that sails beneath the waves? On deck she could see a swarm of fearsome pirates with demonic glowing red eyes, armed to the teeth. With Maraqua in sight, they raised their cutlasses with a bloodcurdling war cry, a precursor to the destruction they hoped to wreak upon the underwater kingdom. As they reached the gates of Maraqua, she could see her sister Isca, wide eyed and afraid, crying out for help. The grey skinned Aisha tried to call out her sister’s name, but nothing would come forth from her lips, save a wisp of bubbles. Caylis attempted to swim towards her sister with arms outreached, but the more she struggled to approach her, the farther away her sister appeared to be. Soon everything was covered in shadows, save for those red, menacing eyes...
“Child! Child! Awake!”
Caylis felt herself being shaken roughly once more, and snapping out of her trance, found herself staring into the hypnotic purple eyes of the Drenched Sister Delphyne. Pressing against her throbbing temple with her fingers, she tried to raise herself up from the ground to face the corrupted Water Faerie. Delphyne clasped her hands on the Aisha’s arms to steady her as she rose; Caylis could see that her brows were furrowed with worry.
“Child, what is wrong?” Her voice was natural, not dripping with insincerity of false concern like Narcissa’s had been. Did Delphyne actually... care about her? Caylis could think of no other explanation for this unwarranted concern over herself.
Upon seeing the normally cold Water Faerie display her emotions, Caylis could not help but be truthful to her, “I had another vision, Mistress Delphyne, but this time I can remember what I saw. Maraqua is going to be under attack; these creatures on a strange ship will descend upon them from the world above. What is worse, my sister is going to be in grave danger; I must find some way to help her!” Fearful for her sister’s safety, Caylis threw down her defenses and began to cry in the Water Faerie’s arms.
Delphyne merely held her and gently stroked her claws through the Aisha child’s hair, not meant to taunt her sorrow, but to truly comfort her. She simply whispered, “It will be all right, Child.”
After Caylis had calmed down, the Drenched Sister put her hands on the Aisha’s shoulders so that they were face to face. Taking a more serious tone, Delphyne spoke to her, “Child, you must make a decision; if you continue to stay here, you will become corrupted as we are, either by choice or by force. Narcissa will see to that, you can be certain. You must strengthen your resolve, and choose what it is you truly want: do you wish to exact your revenge, or do you wish to save your sister from a terrible fate?”
Caylis, her voice struggling to speak, replied, “I... I wish to save my sister; I realize now that my revenge means nothing compared to her.” Trying to hold back her tears, she felt as if the evil in her heart was pouring out of her like a mighty flood; she felt as if her body was lighter, now that she had discovered what was truly important to her.
“Then,” Delphyne answered, “you must go.”
“But,” Caylis argued, surprised at the Water Faerie’s nondescript statement, “Your sisters, Narcissa... surely I will not just be allowed to leave?”
“Leave them to me; I see myself in you, before I had succumbed to the darkness. I would not wish this upon you, to have this cold feeling in your heart for as long as you lived. Before I become completely consumed by it as Narcissa has done, I wish to bestow my last act of kindness upon you. Escape, Child, escape the darkness that I could not, and never let it overtake you.”
Caylis nodded in agreement, and together they swam through the winding tunnels until they reached the entrance of the caves. Swimming forward, the grey skinned Aisha faced the massive whirlpools; the waters raged above her like the jaws of a menacing beast, threatening to consume her. Caylis closed her eyes, and raised her arms forward. Chanting a few words underneath her breath, the Aisha felt a surge of power focus in her hands, and with a flash of bright blue light the whirlpools were dispersed. Thalassa has certainly taught me well, she thought to herself.
Turning towards the Water Faerie, she spoke with broken voice, “Thank you... so very much. There are no words that can express my gratitude towards you.” Teary eyed, she whispered a Farewell to the Drenched Sister, and made her way to leave.
Just as she was about to depart, Delphyne cried out, “Child, wait! Before you go, you must know this: if you leave, you will be forced to be alone for the rest of your days.”
Caylis halted in her tracks. “Why would you say such a thing, Mistress Delphyne? Why help me, only to tell me this?” For a moment, she felt as if the Water Faerie had played a cruel trick upon her, and had never intended to free her from the clutches of the Drenched.
“Child, did you think there would be no repercussions for your actions? Look at your arm; do you not feel it?”
Caylis glanced down to her arm; nothing appeared out of the ordinary, just the armlet that Narcissa had given to her as a gift. Then, wide eyed, she realized her folly; focusing her powers on it, she could sense that it was emitting a dark aura. How had she not noticed its evil presence all this time?
“The armlet that my sister gave you is cursed; Narcissa ensured that if you ever betrayed her, your armlet would release its evil upon you. You will be doomed to live alone amongst the ocean’s waves, unable to be with the one who cares for you. I tell you this only to let you know the depths of your decision. Will you still go and save your sister, even knowing this?”
Caylis fell silent for a moment, her head downcast. Could she condemn herself to such a fate, to risk her life only to be doomed to never see the one she cares for? But when she rose her head to meet Delphyne’s gaze, her eyes burned with a fierce determination. Clenching her hands into fists, the grey skinned Aisha replied, “I must go to her; I would rather spend my days alone than to live knowing I could have saved her. She is my most precious person; she is my sister.”
Delphyne gave a small nod in response; her face took such an unusual softness, that Caylis reckoned the Water Faerie understood her feelings all too well. “Mistress Delphyne... you followed your sisters into the darkness, didn’t you?”
Shocked for a brief instant, the Drenched Sister regained her composure and said in a somber tone, “Indeed, child. Thousands of years ago, when we were young, my sisters were enticed by that Darkness Faerie’s promises of power and a new world created in their image. I allowed myself to be corrupted, out of love for my sisters, and not wishing to be separated from them. Together, we had done terrible, evil things, which I had always regretted from the depths of my heart. But to be without my only family was something I could not bear.”
Taking the Aisha child into her arms, the corrupted Water Faerie embraced her tightly. As her eyes started to well up with tears again, Caylis remembered for a brief moment what it was like to be held by someone who loved her: this is what it felt like... when Mother embraced me.
“Go, my Child, to protect your sister. Though my sister Narcissa has given your armlet a devastating curse, I will wish for your happiness, and hope that your love for your sister will find a way to break its chains about you.”
Leaving rather abruptly, as she couldn’t bear to say a second goodbye, Caylis swam off into the dark seas. The Aisha was tempted to turn around to catch one last glimpse of her former mentor and confidant; but when she finally decided to give in, the whirlpools she had subdued suddenly burst back into life, veiling the lair of the Drenched with its swirling vortex. While Caylis could just barely make out the Water Faerie’s silhouette through the waters, she could sense her eyes through the rushing waters, watching over her as she always had.
Carrying on, Caylis swam off with a sense of purpose, towards changing the fates of many, including that of her own. Her heart raced at the thought of seeing her sister again, whom she had not been with for what seemed like ages ago. And while she understood that she would be cursed for betraying Narcissa, she felt certain she would find a way to break it. For the first time in her life, Caylis had hope in the future.