Written for Seanfhocal Challenge 18
Never Swim Alone, With Dolphins
The ocean called to her.
Daine Sarrasri sat wide awake in her bed, staring out of the window. The soft breeze caused the curtains near her window to flutter, allowing the moon to shine into the room. Daine's eyes reflected the full moon, shining brightly over the dark port. She walked to the window, and gazed, entranced, around the port, eerily visible in moonlight.
She heard something, far away, calling to her. A cry, not for help, but of beauty, pain, love, suffering filled her ears, though she knew none but her could hear. She turned her head to the bed where her lover still laid, deaf to the cry that pierced her soul. Quietly, she slipped out of her room, her nightgown still trailing at her heels.
The castle steps her cold and uninviting. She knew the ocean would welcome her. As if in a trance, she walked through the castle, never pausing once to think about anything around her, or even what she was doing.
Stone met sand, and she stood on a small cliff overlooking the ocean. She descended the rocky steps down to the harbor, faster than a person in their right minds would safely do. Her pale hands were ghostlike, hanging limply at her sides, though a guardrail was in easy reach. The stone steps became rougher and rougher, until nothing was left but a narrow trail leading to the water's edge.
Spectral ships were docked in the harbor. Their sails waved noiselessly in the wind, the setting perfect for sailors' tales of horror and pirates.
Daine walked to the very edge, and surveyed the sight. Quietly, she slipped off her clothes, and dived into the water. The shock of cold water meeting warm skin awakened her, and made her aware of her surroundings. But the ocean still had its grasp on her. She swum out to the middle, and quietly floated.
Echoes sounded throughout her ears, vibrating her body. The dolphins. They were near. She could feel them, wanted to join them, wanted to be them. She transformed, allowing the shape of the dolphin to overtake her. She called to her dolphin brothers and sisters, and they answered her.
She glided through the water, towards them. The pod awaited her. They welcomed her to them, as one of their own. They frolicked together, easing themselves to her presence.
She led the pod out of the harbor, towards the wide ocean. The sea met her, rolling over her smooth skin. The ocean was beautiful, more beautiful than it was from the window. She was part of the night, the night was theirs. The stars reflected upon the water, making the gentle waves sparkle with the luminance.
An image in the distance caught her eye. A single ship dotted the horizon, its sails billowing in the wind, though it was but a simple breeze. The ship itself was small, a fishing ship, it seemed. The pod swam closer for a better look, unaware of the danger that came with their curiosity.
"Hurry it up then, we gotta get this over before sunup. Lower the net! Now!" A voice broke the stillness. Her human intelligence told her something was wrong, though the other dolphins remained curious. The pod began to circle the boat, bumping the sides occasionally. A man rushed to the rail, and leaned over.
With terror, she saw a smile twist the man's face into an ugly smirk. "Well look here, they've come to us. No need to use bait, now, do we?"
Another face appeared over the railing. "We're gonna sleep well tomorrow night. Do you know how much the oil from a dolphin's head is fetching at Port Caynn right now?"
"Yes, yes, which is why we're here. I thought that with our luck, that damn Wildmage would have these beasts trained to tip the boat over." Her human nickname made her think more about her surroundings. Why am I here?
Something engulfed her body, leaving her lungs choking on the water and air combination. As her fins became entangled in the net, she tried to shake herself free, but it only trapped her more. A dolphin next to her thrashed, its tail bruising one side. In a panic, she transformed into her human body.
The men paid no notice to what they had in their net. They reeled it in, and then spilled its contents upon the deck. One man advanced on the dolphin with a knife, its strangled noises screaming in her ears. The noise died in one swift motion, the man thrusting a knife into the dolphin's side. Daine watched in horror as the body was rolled to the back of the boat, where the bodies of half a dozen other dolphins laid.
The man reeling in the net turned as he heard Daine uttered a muffled cry over the senseless killing of her friend, an innocent animal. He stared at the clothes less girl, a sick look overcoming his face. "Hey, who are you? Wanted to 'play' with the dolphins, did you now?"
Daine blushed as she transformed herself into a seagull. Ignoring the disbelief shouts from the men aboard the ship, she circled overhead. sing her wild magic, she called to all of the dolphins that surrounded the ship, urging them to flee.
Squeals and whistles filled her ears in an answering reply. They didn't seem to understand what happened to their missing pod member, and rammed the boat in protest. The men aboard the ship in turn raced to the railing, iron hooked spears in their hands. Thrusting again and again, the men didn't manage to accomplish anything but angering the dolphins more. They butted the boat in a group effort.
The men shrieked curses at them as the boat began to tip. The dead dolphins spilled into the water, the oil and blood seeping into the now torrential water. The live dolphins gently prodded at the bodies, and quickly swam away.
The boat was now tipping precariously to its side, Both men aboard were attempting to flip it back upright by dumping an invaluable contents to the side. Daine narrowly avoided being hit by a stray bottle aimed at her by one of the men.
Daine lured the dolphins away from the mess with repeated cries and calls. They reluctantly left the wreck, not wanting to leave their unlucky companions floating among the debris of the water. The pod reformed and headed not where Daine was going, but away from the harbor. Daine watched sadly as they swam out to sea, fearful that they never would return again.
Daine turned and flew slowly back to the harbor, not paying any bit of attention to where she was going. She flew amid the sails of the docked ships, around the beach, and over the fief before hading back to where she had first entered the water. Her night gown lay where she had left it, only now it was damp and salt encrusted from the pounding waves. She pulled it over her head, and began the long ascent back to her bed, where sleep and peace awaited her.
A/N: There we are! I actually was able to write something. Forgive me, my good readers, for my terrible bout of writer's block. I have suffered terribly from lack of will to write, and am slowly attempting a recovery. I hope that more writing form me should be on the way soon.