Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wavelength of Aquahart (Friday Fiction)

This is my first time ever hosting Friday Fiction. You will find McLinky at the bottom of this post and just go ahead and add your link to the rest. Don't forget to read and comment on all the wonderful stories as well! Enjoy!




((Author's Ramblings: This is my idea of a goldfish. Enough said. Happy reading!))

I hate being a goldfish.

Well, mostly anyway. Even the actual message couriers refer to us as ‘thankless little buggers’, they try to appreciate what we do. Most of the time they do a miserable job. It isn’t really my fault, or rather anyone’s fault, I suppose, I’m just tired of it.

And I’m also tired of being beached. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. And it works. I wish someone could just send a message far away and forget about it, so I could travel there, taking my time with no rush to return. I’m a faster swimmer than the others, even Joanie-and she’s an Angelfish!

“Dratha, if you’re going to just sit around and mope about-”

“I’m not moping, Teacher Simon.” I hopped to my feet, arms straight at the sides, bowing at the waist as his rank required.

“Really?” An sparse blond eyebrow craned upwards.

“T’was only daydreaming, Teacher, if you please…?” I tilted my head, the silent request to excuse myself from his presence.

The eyebrow drooped. “Walk with me, goldfish.” He snapped. “Look lively!”

I swallowed my groan and bobbed my head respectfully as was required. “Yes, Teacher.”

“Mistress Marion has been whining about you again.”

“Teacher?”

“Don’t give me that wide-eyed innocent look, girl. I know what lurks behind those cat-eyes of yours. Pure and simple mischief. It seems you’ve had far too much time on your hands, lately.”

“Begging your pardon, but it was you who beached me.”

“For an indiscretion that could not be overlooked!” Teacher Simon struggled to keep his voice even. “Really, Dratha!”

“It was an accident, Teacher.” I protested, but barely louder than a whisper. It hadn’t entirely been an accident, but I did not believe that being born into royalty was a ‘do-everything-you-want-and-get-away-with-it ticket’. I’d been quite outspoken on that when the watery princess of Camion had sent me with a message I hadn’t cared to deliver.

“An accident?” He repeated, icily. “Somehow, Dratha, I doubt you.”

A soft prickly feeling settled over me. I didn’t dare shrug.

“Yes.” He mumbled, half to himself as the ‘walk’ ended in front of a gilded doorway. He raised a hand and held it over the golden lock in the center. The circular necessity was gold with a fish eating its own tail. The tail miraculously scrolled backwards away from the mouth as the lock clicked open and the door swung inward. “In you go.” He caught my shoulder with one hand, nudging me forward with his foot before I could bolt. He knew me too well.

“I-I’ve been very good these past few w-weeks.” I stifled a shiver, staying close as he glided serenely down the eerie passageway. “Where are you taking me?”

“This isn’t directly related to the matter of your…behavior.” He cleared his throat. “However, it should cure all future possibilities of this ever happening again.”

“Future possibilities?” I croaked.

“Yes.” His brooding face changed expression long enough to bestow a glare in my direction. “Think of it as insurance.”

“Insurance?”

“You are lucky. Mistress Marion was adamant about your removal or demotion.”

“Demotion?” I sputtered. “I’m a goldfish! You can’t go lower than a goldfish!”

The glare repeated itself with his thin, white lips pressed together as if trying keep whatever he was about to say, to himself. Something rumbled in his throat. “Actually there is.”

“There is?” I gaped at him, completely missing the obvious. “What?”

“A Worym” There was no mistaking the devious look in his silver-white eyes. “I told her it wouldn’t quite suit you.”

“A worym?” I swallowed and tried again. “T-Teacher-”

“Hush, child.” His great hand settled on my shoulder once more, squeezing with the seemingly unnatural strength for his appearance. “You are my ward, as I promised your mother I would look after you, but you are severely trying my patience.” He snorted. “Whatever pretenses I have, I have it anyway. I’ve come up with a good assignment for you.”

I tried to listen as I began to recognize the eerie hallway, it had given way to the natural rocky caves, lit by flickering moonstones, casting a dark blue glow on everything within the central cavern. Here was the soul of the Aquahart. All those of the messenger type, at least.

“Don’t you want to know what it is?”

I heaved a sigh. There wasn’t exactly much of a safe answer to that question, but it did require an answer just the same. “What is it?” He cleared his throat. I rolled my eyes. “Teacher Simon, might I ask what assignment you had in mind for me?”

“You spoil all my fun.” He grumbled. “It’s a simple thing. Nothing complicated, nothing you could possibly mess up.”

“Aw, Teach!”

“Dratha…” He sighed. “You’ve been assigned to one of the princes of the royal house. You will be his personal courier for as long as he’ll have you or until a better replacement is found.”

“What?!”

“It’ll be a good change of scenery.”

“I don’t need a change of scenery.”

“You live in a water bubble.”

“Don’t knock my bubble!”

“Dratha!”

“Teach!”

“Dratha.”

“Okay, fine! Which one?”

“Which one?”

“Yes! Which one?! The little baby one that has a gaggle of nannies trailing in his wake, but is still old enough to sign tiebreaker petitions? The medium-sized one who is still learning to waltz, so he dictates his position on policy during his dance-lessons? Or is the old one that’s engaged and still planning war games? I know it can't be the king, because he thinks puny little goldfish are beneath him.”

“You, my dear, have a horribly overactive imagination.” A soft burp came from within and he paused for a moment, the disagreeable expression on his face, darkening several fathoms more. “Though I won’t deny that your descriptions were remarkably accurate in the house of princes for our royal aquatic family, however, you are there on official business and can therefore claim that whenever you please.”

“Whenever I please? Whoa! Back up here, Teach…what kind of catch is there? Why would I need one of those little just in case-”

“You’ll be carrying messages from Suguisa, from the hand of the exiled prince.”

“E-exiled?” I nearly choked, in spite of the new, welcome moisture in the air. “Teacher Simon?”

By now, we had reached the main dive pool, a deep, vibrant blue collection of the most beautiful water in Aquahart. It was tainted with everything good, from healer’s tinctures to fairy dust, the water was always properly kept. Any messenger sent through the main pool, would most assuredly arrive at their intended destination. It was also said that repeated dives through the main pool would gift the messenger with special talents of their own.

“T-the exiled prince?” I finally managed to repeat, when no immediate answer was given. “Prince Rayken?”

“Dratha-” Teacher Simon stopped at the edge of the pool, he turned, one hand on my shoulder, guiding me in front of him where both hands clamped securely on the goldfish rank badges and my skinny shoulders. “There are a great deal of things you may never understand, this might be one of them. You’re young, but a couple hundred years is long enough, you remember Prince Rayken, didn’t you? There was no war during his reign, only a handful of unexplainable circumstances which were never proved against him.”

“Circumstances that had to do with experiments, Teacher.” I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “Experiments that killed people! Citizens of Aquahart, there was no mistake in his being exiled, and while I am grateful for an assignment-any assignment-I do not understand why you would send me, out of everyone there is, to take a message to him. A message I will have to stand face-to-face in front of him to give, an opportunity that leaves me open for attack!”

“An attack that will not happen.” Teacher Simon tried to smile. “Dratha, he didn't kill anyone. and the charges against him were never proved. It was simply pinned on him, because he was ruling at the time and there were many who believed he was far too young for the power he had access to. Remember that scandal a few years back? The one with King Dreyfus and the whole street urchin scene?”

I tried to think, but sadly, my mind had turned to mush as far as recalling anything other than the past few dozen years. “I should, Teacher, but I-I cannot.”

“It had to do with a lovely young mermaid and some stolen fairy dust…?”

“Oh!” That did the trick. I nodded. “Yeah. I remember. What about it?”

He waited.

It took another moment before the rest of it sank in and then clicked. “Exactly what am I going to get in trouble for?” I swallowed. There wasn’t a safe end to this. “You’re a rebel.” The truth registered a little harder than I thought. This was more than just a doddering old guardian. He was a sharpened little wizard, and the man who had almost been a father to my mother. He was also a great white shark. I shuddered to think of the teeth he could sink into my frail fins.

“Aquahart was at the peak of prosperity, peace and power when Prince Rayken was at the throne. He made a few mistakes and by order of the people, the popular vote, his father was reinstated as king. A mistake that has plagued Aquahart ever since. His royal highness cannot be allowed to continue in his destructive…ways.”

“Things have been…okay. Rebels are dangerous…what you’re talking about is-”

“Is my responsibility. Not yours, my dear, I cared far too much for your family to let such guilt even been hinted at on such a young heart.” He almost chuckled. “No, my dear. You’re of noble blood, remember? You have no say in where I send you. Your only duty is to do exactly what I say, should you be caught or captured, there would be nothing they could hold against you.” He sighed. “The prince is being held in the lower aquatic regions below the hyper-circle. I want you to give him this message for me. Can you do this?”

“Why me?”

“Because I trust you.”

“Why trust me?”

“Do you remember the prophecy?”

“Every tadpole knows that.”

“Tell it to me.”

I shrugged. “There’s a white prince and he rules for a time of great harvest and happiness. Something goes wrong with him though and a time of blackness takes over, then someone will reach into the depths of their heart to rescue the light and return it to the surface, where it will take its rightful place as king of Aquahart. I don’t get it.”

“You don’t have to, but I can explain.” The hands on my shoulders tightened. “The message will be on your arms and shoulders, goldfish.” He murmured. “The correct prophecy, as known by a select few is not their hearts, but The Hart. The very heart of Aquahart itself, which, in all the years of history upon us, only Prince Rayken, the white prince, has ever held, controlled and used such enormous power for the good off the people.”

Several slippery threads of wetness crawled up my arms. I stifled a grimace, already undoing the buttons on my shirt.

“Take it off, hurry.” He stood back, casting a glance over his shoulder. "We can't be this long here at the main pool."

I shrugged off the clothes, tugging at the few wrinkles in my golden diving suit. A kaleidoscope of dark blue scrolls etched in living ink had traced their way on both arms. The prince’s message. Teacher Simon seemed to have aged in his confession to me, for now he shuffled forward once more.

“Will you do this?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Please.”

“For you, yes. Nothing else.” I wrinkled my nose, I was also doing it to shut up the tiny squabbling voices in my head. The ones asking about justice, fairness and whether my destiny was to die a goldfish. “Goodbye.”

He pushed me backwards into the pool.

My transformation was seamless as I entered the water, tiny, swift and deadly. The golden fins shimmered as I sliced through the water, plunging downward, deep into the heart of our world.

For Aquahart.

©

4 comments:

Dee Yoder said...

Another great story is brewing! I like the goldfish angle...wonder where she'll end up, though?

Stina Rose said...

Interesting! I am intrigued!

Sherri Ward said...

Your writing is quite involved and intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

Joanney said...

Very intriguing. I love the goldfish and the wonderful job of characterization. I look forward to reading more.