Endless Blue – Week 105 – “The Unintended”, Chapter 2   Leave a comment

History

The Unintended
by Dustin Douglas

Chapter 2
Siren’s Call

    Tameryh’s first few years of apprenticeship were hard, but fairly simple.

    He cleaned every inch of the manor, inside and outside. Additionally, he would help serve meals when the house hosted a large event. He woke up early in the morning, and stayed up late into the night trying to keep the house in order. As he approached maturity, House Master Gimbould decided Tameryh could work as a courier in town as well.

    At the end of a long day, Tameryh was almost finished with his duties. No extra events were lined up, and the house was in good condition.

    A bulbous Yaun-Teel wearing a silver version of the house sigil called out, “Tameryh! Come now lad. Bring this message to the slave pens.”

    Tameryh perked up. He loved delivering messages since his duties rarely allowed him opportunities to leave the manor.

    “Yes sir, Master Grimbould, sir,” said Tameryh with excitement.

    “No lollygagging through town, boy. I’ll need your help preparing food when you’re back,” said Grimbould.

    Tameryh nodded eagerly as he took the parcel from Grimbould. Tameryh darted out of the room, and swam up and out of the manor grounds. The Basqorjns kept their slaves pens near The Hole. Most slaves toiled away in The Hole mining opals for the Basqorjn family. Few of the slaves every saw much beyond the slave pens and The Hole. From time to time, the Basqorjn retain a few healthy Mer for breeding stock as well, as the Yaun-Teel become infertile after a few generations.

    Tameryh looked down at a milky fog that hung in the water. Merely swimming through the grit irritated Tameryh’s gills, and lingering too long would start to hurt his lungs. The constant strip mining created the fog that constantly hung in the water, and many slaves fell ill to prolonged exposure to it. Very few animals or plants called this disgusting place home, other than the slaves.

    Tameryh approached the slave master’s quarters, just outside of the pens. He knocked on the door and cleared his throat.

    “Slave Master Quora, I have a parcel for you from the manor,” said Tameryh.

    “Oye, is that the unintended little runt?” growled a voice from the other side of the door.

    “It’s Tameryh here with your package,” said Tameryh with a touch of agitation.

    Quora opened the door and looked down at Tameryh. Quora, a huge Yaun-Teel female with a wicked streak worse than Blodusk.

    “Gimmie that you little unintended,” said Quora snatching the parcel from his hands.

    “Nothin’ better ‘ave gone missin’,” she said.

    “I’m not even privy to the contents of that parcel, madam,” said Tameryh with a touch of condensation in his voice.

    She looked up and mocked, “oh not privy. Not privy to who yer father is, are ya? AH, ha ha!”

    Tameryh scowled at her and said, “Very well. I’ll let Grimbould know you received your parcel.”

    “Oye, you do that,” said Quora, slamming the door in his face.

    Tameryh looked down and shook his head. He wanted to do so many wicked things to that terrible woman. He thought, “Would it be so bad to float her up to the surface and have the hellish creatures tear her to pieces? Perhaps something worse would be better…”

    Tameryh turned away from the pens, and started to leave foggy mining area

    “Come. Call to us. Command us.”

    Tameryh tilted his head up, and looked back towards the mines.

    “Surely, the miner’s aren’t still here,” thought Tameryh to himself.

    Tameryh swam a short way towards the mine shaft, but saw no one. Tameryh shrugged his shoulders, and left. The tunnels can play tricks on the weak minded, and Tameryh new this too well.

    As he turned back, he saw it. A small cloud of red bloom, hanging in the water. Despite the currents, it stood still. The red bloom softly swirled in front of him as Tameryh felt it pierce his mind.

    “Come. Come with us. Come,” he heard a ghostly voice beckon.

    Tameryh stood, transfixed. He heard the stories of the red bloom. A vile wave of red washed over unfortunate Pisceans. Some say it enters their body through their gills, and destroyed them from the inside out. Some say bodies dissolved in seconds, others claim blood shoots out of your eyes. Either way, Tameryh knew to avoid red bloom.

    In the distance, Tameryh turned his head towards a commotion coming from the slave pens, but then looked back at towards the Red Mist. It was gone.

    Tameryh returned to the manor, and ended his day. He spent the next few weeks growing increasingly paranoid of what he had seen. He finished his duties and went to sleep without saying a word of his experience to anyone. He wouldn’t speak a word of it for quite some time…

    “Come. Call to us. Bring us to them. Come. Speak to us. Let us hear your sweet voice. Come. Tameryh. Wield us. Make us your instrument of purification,” whispered an unseen voice.

    Tameryh floated dangerously close to the surface. The beasts of hell lurked above, obscured by the water’s barrier. The sun blazing in the distance as a shade overtook him. A cloud of endless red swirled around him, and all at once he felt great pain. His body dissolving and burning. Again he heard to voice.

    “Come. Call to us. Come!” the voice shouted demanding his attention.

    Tameryh jolted up from his slumber. Almost every night, the same dream found him ever since the red cloud first appeared.

    After weeks of enduring these nightmares, Tameryh finally decided to speak with a priest of Merrshaulk. While Tameryh normally saved his hard earned coins, he knew that consultation with a priest practically required a tithe. Tameryh knew he could not endure the terrors of his dreams any longer without help. While it proved difficult to request time away from the manor, Grimbould approved a visit to the clergy of the Collector.

    Tameryh approached the great temple of the Collector and breathed a heavy sigh as he entered.

    “The collector’s blessing to you,” said an elder Yaun-Teel acknowledging his arrival. The elder continued, “How might we serve you this day?”

    Tameryh nodded and said, “Collector’s blessing to you as well. I am Tameryh of Basqorjn, uh. Uh…” Tameryh paused for a moment, but swallowed his pride and continued, “Tameryh of Basqorjn,  Unintended. I seek spiritual guidance from a Sidar.”

    “Oh my. And with what urgency do you seek this guidance?” asked the elder gesturing towards his open palm.

    Tameryh produced a small sack of coins and placed it in the elder’s hand.

    “Your request has been heard. Please wait here. Sidar Asoudi should be available soon,” said the elder as he logged information on a scroll.

    Tameryh waited in the main chapel area and studied the images of Merrshaulk’s champions emblazoned along the walls. The grand seekers, explorers, exploiters, slavers, wizards, sorcerers, and clergy. What ignorant folks called greed, the Yaun-Teel called creative ambition. These champions were so willing to sacrifice everything for their goals. Vanya of Targo, the great explorer. She founded the very city the Yaun-Teel called home. Her desires for fame and fortune created great benefit for the entire Yaun-Teel race. Tameryh looked at the portrait of Grand Wizard Juantic. He felt envious of his magical mastery, as Juantic first established a school for wizardy in Marst Gravis. Truly, greed and profit drove him, but all of the Yaun-Teel society profited from his actions. Before Tameryh could think further about his ancestory, an elder Sidar appeared.

    “Tameryh of Basqorjn? Come. Speak with me,” said the elder Yaun-Teel adorned in gold.

    The pair of Yaun-Teel slowly swam towards a private office in the back of the cathedral.

    “What troubles you so, young one? Is it your mother?” asked the Sidar.

    “Oh, no no. Thank you for asking, but… I’ve been having reoccurring nightmares.” Said Tameryh. He continued as Sidar Asoudi nodded solemnly, “It’s always the same. A red mist appears and calls to me. It wraps itself around me, I feel it consuming me from the inside out, and then I wake up in a panic.”

    “What manner of red mist is this?” asked the sidar.

    “Well. It looked like red bloom. At least, I think. One night after leaving the mine, I thought I saw a small patch drifting though. I heard the voice call to me then. Beckoning me to come closer. I looked around, looked back, and it disappeared,” said Tameryh.

    The sidar cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at this story.

    “Interesting,” said the sidar. He continued, “Were you alone? The slaves weren’t weaving magic at you perhaps?”

    “As far as I know, I was alone. I was ready to brush this off as merely being exhausted from the day’s work, but the nightmares won’t stop. I didn’t feel any sort of fear when I originally saw the mist. I only feel fear in my dreams,” confessed Tameryh.

    “I see,” said the Sidar. He continued, “I think I have something that may help.”

    The sidar stood up, and began rummaging through a chest at the other side of the room. Tameryh heard glass clanking together, and the sidar eventually produced a large vial of dark liquid.

    “I recommend you drink this draught each night before you sleep. This should last you the entire week. If you feel you need more, come visit me again. Of course, be prepared to offer a similar sized tithe as you did today,” said the sidar in a business-like tone.

    The Sidar held up a small, cork-sealed vial with a siphoning spigot on the end. Tameryh remembered drinking from vials like that as a child, and he always hated the taste.

    Tameryh looked at the sealed vial, nodded, and asked, “Do you think this dream means something deeper? I mean, what sort of thing is that red mist exactly?”

    The sidar breathed a heavy sigh and said, “The filthy Mer share stories about it. Cursed waters that claim the wicked, some say. Others claim it’s the remnants of the Kraken’s old magics endlessly roaming the seas, consuming until the end of time. However, the toxin is simply algae. It grows, or blooms, to a massive size. It siphons the purity from the water, and even swimming near it might cause one to gag. At least that’s what the less superstitious might tell you. Perhaps there’s a bit of truth to all those stories.”

    Tameryh nodded along and said, “but in the form of a dream? Could it mean something more?”

    “Oh, you mean a figurative meaning!” said the sidar with a chuckle. He continued, “Dreams of death, they aren’t too uncommon. Merrshaulk visits images upon us, warning us of  dire circumstance or splendid opportunity. Some say they are one in the same. Perhaps, he warns you too? The path ahead of you might be perilous, but trust your instincts. All of us know better than to swim into the red mists without needing to be told. When you feel something is wrong, trust that feeling.”

    Tameryh nodded along eagerly.

    “Good. Just remember to take small sip of this before bed each night,” said the sidar as he stood up and led Tameryh to the door.

    “Yes sir. Thank you for sharing your guidance with me,” said Tameryh bowing.

    “I live to serve,” said the sidar, holding open the door.

    Tameryh gave a slight bow, and slowly swam out the door, placing the vial into his pack. While he went through the cathedral, he looked back up at the heroes of Merrshaulk and wondered how he might make a name for himself one day.

    Tameryh thought to himself, “Could an unintended ever rise to prominence in the House of Basqorjn?”

    As he exited the temple, a free Mer woman stared at him in the street. While a bit uncommon in this part of town, other races did come to Edonmul to trade. She wore straps of shagreen, and a tight fitting leather helmet. Tameryh thought she might be a hunter of some sort.

    “Don’t give in to the great lies of Suminarae, as comforting as it may be,” said the Mer woman.

    “What are you talking about?” asked Tameryh as he cocked his head.

    “The priests. They tell you things. The things you need to hear to be a good Yaun-Teel. They tell you what you need to hear to ensure their station remains. If the currents keep flowin’ as they always have, their life will remain comfortable. So, really, who do they serve? They serve themselves first, they serve the lie second, and they might serve you third,” she said.

    “Hey, don’t drag me into your toxic heresy!” said Tameryh raising his voice.

    “Oh very well, unintended. Just remember this. Soon enough you’ll know you’re nothing more than a vessel to deliver coins, but you could be…” she trailed off.

    With an incredulous look, he said, “Could be what?”

    The woman faded away right in front of him as she said, “So much more.”

    Tameryh looked all around for a trace of the Mer woman, but she disappeared. He looked to the other pedestrians passing by the area, but no one seemed to take note.

    He thought to himself, “Who in the vastness was that, and how did she know I was an unintended?”

***
(Continued…)

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