Basic Shape - A Story of the Sea
Oxana - Merdom of Frey
Recently, in the undertow, Oxana, a second sister in the Merdom of Frey, found a muddlewreath. It was suitable when crushed with sand dollar for shinning waist scales. She tucked the muddlewreath safely in her collecting bag and dove back into the foam of the sea.
The bag had been fashioned from a stray fish net that she’d removed from a small sea turtle. She had seen him near the Outawaters peer only days before. He had thanked her with a nudge of his nose upon release and gratefully swam away. She examined the ragged mesh and decided to fashion a carrying bag for daily forages.
Today she had found muddlewreath, an object she could use as a comb and three shiny round tins. She swam from the shore with her net bag in tow happily. The sun rested on the dark waters as she dove deeper heading toward home.
Oxana, in the life of Merworld, was small and humble. Her mother Ana had birthed other merfish. Her siblings were Jinxana and Ruable named for both of their fathers, Ru the elder merman and Able her consort.
Oxana’s father was unknown. He was a warrior merman from the northern sea who had mated with her mother during a raid. The younger merchildren had been born one sundown apart each reflecting the tides.
As was custom, the oldest sister of a birthing mer often raised the weakest merfin. Oxana was raised by Teana her mother’s sister, which in others opinion was an unforgivable mistake.
Teana was wild and sea swept, rushing here and there without rhyme or reason. She played the conch passionately and swam off for days seeking sea urchins, her favorite food, returning to collapse upon her couch with fits of delirium and vomiting. Oxana was her constant companion, massaging her torn tailfins with coral oils. She appeared to raise her aunt which was both bane and blessing.
She worked around the tidy rock pool in the morning, scraping lichen and small mollusks for the quartz walls that lined their nest. Often, she stopped to carve modest designs into the curving silicon with a short piece of tubular metal she had found on a forage. The sea water eroded the designs so she cleaned and re-carved earlier patterns that she had seen her eldermers draw, remembering the strokes and ancient names generations of Frey Mers who had nested in these hallowed out halls in the quartz fan that ran in the depths of the sea.
The clan had migrated south from the colder waters near the Scotia Cliffs when war broke out between them and the Marimers. The conflict started so long ago that many young Mers were unable to pronounce the names of those who perished in the siege. Great eldermers of both sea clans had died taking with them the names of the lost who were only mentioned in song. The melodies were sung at night by troubadour elders, the words harmonizing with the waves that echoed back to the midnight sea. Oxana wished to sing their names and scratched their stories as she remembered them into the white stones walls. She brushed out the debris that filled the etched lines daily in memory. “One day,” she said, “I too shall sing.”
Work in Progress
This book will explore the turbulence underneath the sea in the Bermuda Triangle. Inspired by a three year stay in North Carolina along the quartz vein that runs along the Atlantic coast line, this whimsical work is dedicated to the Anahita the water goddess that hovers there. Copy is filled with pen & ink drawing done by the author.
Available in 2011.