Meeting the Masters
It is a fine morning under the sea! We've had a breakfast of honey nut cakes and tea and an interesting sea berry that tastes somewhat like salty tangerines. We're waiting for Sir Max, all impatiently fidgeting and fogging the windows peering out into the water. I am missing the company of Master Waterpot and hope he has found his cloak fish. He is a grand companion to have along on an adventure. The unfortunate incident with his cloak is very mysterious. He is too good of a wizard for his fish to just swim off and abandon him.
The water is so clear we may be seeing a long way but haven't the sense to judge distance underwater. So when a glowing light appears it seems to take an age to form a shape we recognize. It is Sir Max and he is smiling and beckoning to us to come out, for he can not come inside. Sir Max chose long ago to change his physical form to that of a mercreature. His entire life being devoted to underwater activity, the tail of a fish makes his movements more agile and lyrically acceptable to the other creatures in the sea.
A clear bubble-like structure has risen up over a small gazing pool in the living room. I point at it with a questioning look and Sir Max nods and smiles, making the diving motion with his hands. Zooks! He means for us to dive or jump into this bubble. For a second I feel as perverse as Wart and then get my gumption up, smile fearlessly at my mystified friends and jump.
What a delight! The bubble is a gelatinous-like membrane that allowed me to dive through it and then sealed behind me. The swirling water underneath the bubble took me for a swift thrilling ride down through a tube and popped me out on the sea floor. When the others behind the glass saw I was clearly unharmed, they jumped with joyful and comical abandon through the bubble, leaving Wart still clinging to Diaphonys. After a bit of gentle coaxing, Diaphonys finally scooped him up and jumped too.
Sir Max has instructions and we gather round, as quiet and serious as elvin kind can be. We are in his domain now and as eager to follow his rules as we hope others will follow ours. His companion is an octopus named Orion who is very shy and hides behind Sir Max, eyeing us curiously. We eye him back just as curious and a tad nervous, never having been so close to an octopus before. Sir Max tells us Orion is deaf but has very keen eyesight to make up for it and is a good underwater tracker. He is also very sensitive and intelligent. It is obvious he has the mental empathy with Sir Max and also some magic of his own, for the lad can regrow an arm if he loses one.
While we are enjoying the special differences of Sir Max and Orion, another amazing merperson bobs into view. Zeno Siliarus, a true sea monster of unusual size and proportions, has come along from a deep dark distance herding a school of sea creatures. His face is broad and fishlike and attached to a body similar to a large seahorse all mottled in shades of yellows, beiges and greenish golds. It is his smile that vanquishes all uneasiness about his looks and isn't that true for all of us? A genuine friendly smile will win over almost any misgivings.
Zeno wins my heart immediately for he is one of the sweetest and funniest creatures I have ever met. He reminds me of a rock troll who came up under my tea table once, giving me quite a thrill as the tea things went flying. The troll later proved to be a delightful companion but I'm sure Zeno smells better than a troll and certainly has a better sense of humor. He is to be my personal guide so that Sir Max can circulate throughout the whole party. Zeno introduces me to a brilliant blue fish named Poma who has consented to carry me on her back until I get used to this new environment and can navigate the currents on my own. Such a gentle sweet lass she is!
Sir Max's choice of a sea mount for Wart is curious. It is a large formidable looking shark with sparks of something beyond mischief in its eye. More surprising is the guide Sir Max has chosen for him, a very exotic and powerful seafem named Dasa Pog. There is something about this Dasa Pog that stirs my ire and I am quickly and suspiciously attentive to her appearance and actions. Enamored with Wart, she put one long finned arm protectively around him and began singing to him, probably one of those sea siren songs that lure sailors and the likes onto rocks. From the look on Wart's furry face I know it is only a matter of time before something disastrous happens.
Harkin, too, has an unusual expression on his face, possibly long suffering determination, possibly some creative plot brewing in his talented brain. I am hoping he is not going to seriously try to find this imaginary amulet for the rock angel back in the glen. I haven't the heart to tell him that the amulet doesn't exist, that we were just teasing him. I am worried he will go off looking for it with no direction at all. Oh, surely he wouldn't be so foolish, would he? Well, he may be a fool but I am rather proud of the lad, watching him fearlessly climb up on the back of an eel named Emily whose charming smile reveals a mouthful of needle sharp teeth.
My other whimsical little friends have clamored on the backs of brilliantly colored fish and a sea turtle. When we are finally underway we make the grandest parade of the most beautiful and unusual creatures in the sea.