Warm water lapped at Bairon’s thighs as he settled astride the aspra. The creature snorted with impatience, tossing its equine head, and he laughed, patting the side of its neck, feeling the power in the smooth muscles, “We’ll be going soon enough. Be calm.” Bowing his head, he focused his strength inward before allowing the power to spread out, bathing his surroundings in the magical light that comprised his sense of sight.
The waves were calm, the crystal blue waters of the inland sea looked peaceful, but there were few of those who lived on this island that were willing to come within a hundred yards of the water’s edge. The hidden, yet ever present, danger was illustrated by the misty shapes of hundreds of shipwrecks which now drew his gaze. There were so many broken masts that the shallows appeared as a forest whose trees had been decimated by some disaster, and everyone knew that each mast marked the final resting place of another crew that met their fate at the hands of the demons that lived in the depths.
There was not enough life within the rotting boards for him to make out more than the vague shapes, but he could see the bright darts of light that indicated the aquatic life in the area had adopted the husks which discouraged even the bravest of the villagers from approaching the water. Despite the life he could see, the smell of death was heavy along the coast, dimming the brilliance of the midday sun.
Movement at his side drew his attention and he turned toward the village shaman, “You don’t have to do this, you know,” the man rasped in a voice as weathered as his face.
“I am sinha,” Bairon replied, “It is my duty to protect the peoples of the land.”
“Your magics may not work in the deeps,” the shaman warned and passed a heavy staff to him, “Take this. You may need a weapon.”
Bairon accepted the staff and strapped it into a groove along the side of the saddle, “I will take it,” he gestured to the mask obscuring the upper half of his face, “however, my melee skills leave much to be desired.”
“Yes, the light magics demand a high price,” the shaman observed, his expression somber.
“They do,” Bairon agreed, “But they also give great strength. It is not a sacrifice I have ever regretted.”
“I hope that does not change today. You go into great peril, sinha, and our people will be forever in your debt. When you are ready, place the skimmer over your nose and mouth, it will allow you to breathe under the water. Hold tightly to the saddle. Aspra can move swiftly enough to knock an unprepared rider from their back.”
“I thank you for the warning,” Bairon nodded and a crooked smile appeared as he prepared to secure the skimmer, “I have to try, you know, because there is only one way to catch a mermaid.”
Where you are from?
- Originally from Utah, now live in Arizona
You favorite: piece of writing writing/book/literature.
- Typically love fantasy, but my all time favorite book is probably Pride and Prejudice
In no more than two sentences, why you love to write.
- There is nothing more exciting to me than the endless possibilities of a blank sheet of paper. To me, writing is freedom to go wherever and be whatever I want.