- Nov 10, 2008
The current drew Ilona along at a steady pace, requiring only the occasional shift of her tail in order to keep moving along at a steady clip. Rays of light shown around her, filtering through the surface of the water above. The ocean floor was visible below, in the shallows between a string of islands that were once populated by small groups of surface dwellers. The formori had changed all that, traveling through the depths of the ocean to reach the oceans populated by her own people and raiding and pillaging the coastal waters of both her own people and the land walkers. The local populations of humans living on the islands had been all but wiped out by the amphibious londoriens, taken or killed in raids in the night, and the survivors had fled or remained enslaved to their attackers.
Her own people had suffered greatly, many of their outlying settlements suffering similar raids that left their already dwindling population even deeper in crisis. Her own kind were being kidnapped en masse to be used as brood mothers and slaves, and with every surge of the londorien population that came with groups of their women being impregnated Ilona's people were put deeper into crisis. Even worse, while the initial invaders had mostly been poorly organized and without the support of supernatural powers, the more of her kind they bred with the more they displayed psychic abilities like those naturally possessed by the merfolk. The dangers against her people's settlements were growing by the month now, and if something wasn't done to cease the spread of the chaos their whole civilization might crumble as the border towns were.
It was towards one such besieged settlement that Ilona swam now, for it was home to a sage who might know more about how to free the god of the sea. Aereia had once been a scholar back in the central city of her people, Adamantia, before retiring to the more distant regions before the time of peace had ended. She had been the head of their research on the group of surface dweller sorcerers who had bound Lord Elric, but political machinations had led her to an early retirement and she had come here, to the modestly sized town of Clyons nestled among an archipelago far off the coast of Anudor. The sea bed fell off slightly up ahead, offering her two paths on the way forward; to remain close to the surface, or to keep low.
The larger predators of the ocean had always been temperamental neighbors, and while sharks and hunting whales would rarely venture too close to settled areas they were rarely averse to picking off a lone mer if they seemed like an easy meal. Such predators had grown more dangerous of late, the release of the Leviathans that had sired their races instilling in them a new bold ferocity that hadn't made getting along with them any easier. Whales at least could be bargained with in the interest of avoiding conflict, to an extent, but sharks cared only for one thing; food, and they cared little where it came from. To stay low, in contrast, would leave her less exposed to the larger ocean predators but risk encountering more of the small ones. Galo's betentacled kinsmen tended to remain low to the ocean floor, though octopi more often remained near the coral reefs and the larger squid often kept to deeper waters. Desperate times had driven some of the mer to prey on one another like surface world bandits as well, and such beds of kelp were preferred ambush sights for such neer-do-wells... And more dangerously, for the formori, who would surely see her as another valuable prize to be taken.
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