THE MERMAID'S TRAIL
BY CURGAN



This is a sailor's story of Helcrani origin, telling us of the captain Oceandir, who met a strange mermaid on his travels, who should become his challenge and destiny. Oceandir's adventures are well known among the Helcrani and the isle mentioned in his tale has a legendary place in the hearts of many sailors of the western seas.

 

he Helcrani were a tribe of mountaineers, most of them had never seen the sea before. One of them was Oceandir the son of the Ahai Alpotis. At his early twenties he joined the Centoraurian and next the Avennorian army as a mercenary. It was then when Oceandir saw the sea for the first time in his life and got bewitched by her. Although he had no experience on the matter and he could not even swim, he decided to join the navy. Within a few years Oceandir mastered the art of sailing and soon rose to be a captain with his own ship. In one of his endeavors he found an enormous sea wyrm that had attacked a dolphune. The brave Ahai flew in the teeth of the beast and attacked it with his ship. The battle lasted more than an hour and at the end Oceandir managed to rescue the dolphune and severely wounded the beast. However, he didnít want to kill the magnificent wyrm. So, he took a bag of healing potions and bandages and jumped to the sea. The wyrm was too wounded to react. It was surprised though to see that - instead of death - her doom offered salvation. Oceandir finally managed to draw out the arrows and band the wounds. From now on the sea wyrm would be one of his closest friends, which followed him everywhere and fought on his side. He gave her the name of Scyllar.

A few years later, in 725 b.S., a storm led Oceandir to a tiny island somewhere in the Dark Sea. On the island there was a Temple of Baveras and many treasures lay in common view. Furthermore, there was a merfolk girl of extraordinary beauty that invited the wayworn sailors to the island to find rest, shelter and riches. Her song was one of the most beautiful melodies the human ears had ever heard and the spectacle looked like a miracle. Oceandir - just like the rest of his men - was amazed by her beauty but was very suspicious about the matter. Furthermore, his crew fell into mutiny and led the almost wrecked ship towards the mermaid. However, they were not ment to reach her; nasty reefs hidden under the water would sink the ship, if it approached the island any more. Only the exceptional naval skills of Oceandir prevented the capsizing.

Sirene, the Mermaid

View picture in full size  Sirene, the Mermaid, destiny of Oceandir. Image drawn by Quellion.

He knew that something was going wrong. He could not prevent his men from going to the island but on the other hand he could not afford to send his beloved crew to death. So, he offered to swim to the island and, if it was safe, the rest would follow. The men respected and trusted their captain so much that they accepted his proposal. As Oceandir swam towards the shores a group of sharks attacked him. However, Scyllarís intervention and his sharp knife saved the bold sailor from death. The mermaid expected him with a permanent smile on her face. She greeted him Ė in fluent westan - introduced herself as Sirene and congratulated him for overpassing the hazards. He was now worth of what she and her island had to offer. In these words she dived in the water and gave him a kiss. It was a kiss of death though as she dragged him more and more into the water. The brilliant Oceandir was so overwhelmed by her kiss that he could not react.

Nevertheless, as Oceandir was almost losing his consciousness under the water, a dolphune attacked the mermaid. It was the same he had rescued years ago and now it remembered its saviour. Saved by the deadly embrace, Oceandir came back to his senses and headed for the surface. He found his breath and - with the dolphuneís help - Oceandir lay his hands upon the girl and, dragging Sirene at her long hair, taking her on dry land in order to give her the retribution of her vice. She offered him as much treasures he could carry if he spared her life. Oceandir replied that although he didnít believe in the Goddess of the Seas he would not loot her temple or her treasures. All he wanted instead was an oath that she would never again harm a human and if she ever saw a sailor in danger then she would help him. Sirene, amazed by the words she heard, decided to share her story with him. She told him that she once was a plain mermaid that was kidnapped along with her family by a wizard, where they had to suffer unholy experiments for his dark machinations. In this process she was endowed with a kind of intelligence unknown to the other merfolk and a talent for magic. A long time she had served as a toy for her master. But she also had become more and more hateful for the race of the person who had massacred her entire family. Upon hearing this story a tear shone on the hardy sailorís eye. The girl had earned his heart and he had earned hers although he didnít yet know it.

The mermaid offered hospitality to the sailors. From the islandís trees they repaired their ship and soon they were ready to go. And as they were ready to leave, Sirene revealed her love for Oceandir and begged him to stay with her. However, Oceandir, despite his affection for the mermaid, refused to stay as their union would have been an unholy one and broke down to tears. It was then when Baveras herself appeared and offered a gift to Oceandir. He asked to be allowed to return to the island and die by the girl he loved. The Goddess offered him a trail in the water, a trail of warm water that only he could follow. This trail would stretch from the island to Milkengrad and remain for ever as a token of her favour to him and his folk.

The years passed and Oceandir rose to be the Admiral of the Centoraurian War Fleet. One day when he felt the time had come Oceandir took a small boat and was lost in the seas following Baverasí warm trail and was never seen again.

Oceandir was actually a historical person. However, he never talked about his journeys. All his adventures are known by narrations from his crew since his logs disappeared with him. Shortly after the settlement of the Helcrani on the Efirhal Island a warm stream replaced the cold one that leads to the mentioned island, which is now known as Alesath. This fact could never be explained. The stream was named the Mermaidís Trail and still exists and it is said to be responsible for Milkengradís temperate climate. However, nobody has ever been capable of following the stream to its origin and the existence of Alesath still remains a myth. Occasionally also other stories of vicious mermaids are told, to which the people of the Santharian westcoast since Oceandir's tale often refer to as stories of the "Sirenes".

Story written by Curgan View Profile