The secret origin story of a celestial scholar born a mermaid and haunted by a siren call, as told by Katarina Starsend
There was once a young mermaid who lived in the city of Nepta, deep beneath the Infinite Ocean. More than anything, the mermaid loved to sing. This was not necessarily unique to this mermaid, you see, but there was something distinctive about her songs. Unlike the sirens among her people, or the enchanting naiada, this mermaid sang not of the ocean depths but of the stars above.
Her parents were scholars of the celestial spheres. Her father was an explorer, her mother a mermaid. One night, a terrible storm threw the mermaid’s father from his craft. He writhed against the power of the sea, but Kleodna refused to release the man from her watery grasp. Fate tied him to her depths and tugged him below.
The mermaid’s mother was swimming past, hurried, returning to Nepta from a long, arduous scouting mission through the southern seas. The young man’s body drifted on a strong current. “I’ve brought you something,” the goddess of the sea said to the young woman. The mermaid’s mother was puzzled, but she held out her arms to receive the gift from the goddess. She kissed the young man, granting him life, and a second chance to breathe, this time, from the ocean’s shimmering core.
The pair returned to the city, and the young man told the mermaid the wonders of the world of the stars above. “There is a realm,” he said, “where goddesses, gods, and ancient fae roam. And I will take you there one day.”
They had two children as they hatched these plans, in the days when the sea began to grow cold, and dark beings returned to lurk in the southern tides.
Few were as brave as the mermaid’s mother had been, and they did not wish to patrol the far seas. “I must lead one final journey, my loves,” the mother said.
The father’s brow furrowed, but he did not tell her to stay. “The stars will be there when you return.”
“And we’ll walk them together, you and I.” She smiled at her husband and opened her arms to her merchildren. “Be brave, Aravar”—she kissed his head—“and continue to sing, my sweet Katarina.” The mermaid kissed her mother’s cheek.
They never saw her again.
While you can’t read Siren’s Call in its entirety outside of Song of Parting, there are several other short stories you can read on the blog! I recommend “Daughters of Fate and Memory.”
Katarina is one of Iellieth’s closest friends in Buried Heroes, which you can find out more about here. And, be sure to join the Story Enclave community below to stay in the loop about a future project (or two!) that involves Katarina!