NOTE

Since FF is limited about description, more details: this is an Emdosh (Kirin Jindosh x Emily Kaldwin) fic, Jessamine is alive and happy with Corvo (how good!) and Billie is with an OC. It's an AU but stiiiill, a death could be the start of anything, you'll maybe understand.

The rating M is of course for the mature writing but also some sensitive subjects. Now that you're warned, bonne lecture!

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I wanted to thank Madman301 on Tumblr for his help and his kindness for assisting me in the translation of this fic. I'm French and write it in my native language first, so some sentences sounded odd in English, so thanks to him, this fic is easier to understand for English readers now!

I also thank my bear boyfriend: as a cutlery maker, his knowledge about wood and metal helped me alot! I'm almost able to build some Jindosh's Soldiers, now.


PROLOGUE

Eyes closed, Jessamine was rocked by waves' song. She could hear them far away, soft and peaceful, teasing rocks on which they were falling. After plentiful rainy days, weather had become merciful again and, despite late evening, she was not cold.

When the Empress opened her eyes again, she faced oblivion: night has eaten the whole world. Although it was not right: sometimes, far away, the moon revealed waves' foamy beards, making it twinkle.

The chord was hypnotic. Did Emily listen to it too? Did she compose it?

"Jessamine."

Corvo kneeled near his lover, but she turned away her face, fading to shadows.

"Come to bed."

"I worry so much, Corvo. It had been sixteen months."

"I know. But sleeping on the balcony will not help her, she—"

She is trapped between the waves. The Royal Protector did not dare to add this. His fingers skimmed Jessamine's hand. They were not happy parents, mourning ones neither. They had lost her daughter but Emily was not dead for all that.

Jessamine finally rose and turned her back to rolling black waters. She ended up hating them.

In the huge Dunwall Tower's room, she started to undress behind a screen, but she felt Corvo's gaze and she asked him to turn away. They had this exchange since several months, or rather this absence of talk.

"But you—"

"Corvo. I don't want you to look at me."

He stepped back like a guard who just have been ordered as the loving man could not comfort her. In the dark, Jessamine removed her shirt, then her pants. The suit, the underwear, then the scars. In the mirror, she stared at the claw marks over her shoulder: rose's thorns of an unthinkable side had butchered her skin. One of them had hit her cheek and since, Jessamine felt like a side of her face was made of cotton. Delilah's witches had really enjoyed the Empress covered with blood and disfiguration. They had laughed, wondering if their work would be represented on the coins and the marble busts.

Near her desk, there was an immense portrait of the Empress and her daughter at 10. Anton Sokolov, the artist, had managed to capture the glimpse of maternal love in Jessamine's eyes that day. But today, no painter, not even the greatest one, could grasp her dreadful tears.

"You are still beautiful for me, Jessamine."

The Empress was approaching her fifties: she had imagined being marked by wrinkles or liver spots. Instead, fresh wounds had degraded her portrait. She frankly doubted Corvo could think of her as pretty at least, but hearing the compliment relieved her. Knowing he still loved her with the same passion than thirty years ago made her smile.

She laid to bed by his side, she laid between his arms and let him close her to his heart. Corvo said again how he loved her, scars or not, how much he loved the family they had started and tomorrow, he promised, they will find a solution.

"I swear, Jessamine. I'll do anything to get Emily back."

"I love you, Corvo."

"I love you too."

And outside, the waves were still singing, echoing their murmurs. They were rolling and rolling for kilometers, collinding with boats' hull, taking crustaceans away, hurling themselves to the beach. Emily could feel the flow cradling her. She was not listening to the music: she took part of it. Her body overtook water's curves, her head dove and came out with an acknowledged ease. Under the moon's beams, the scales over her fish-tail were sparkling.

When she had metamorphosed her, Delilah made her unable to inherit the throne, but she made her Empress of Seas. Sometimes sadness took over. Albeit that night was one of those that Emily was joyful, wrapped by the tepid currents around Serkonos.

She missed her parents, she missed Dunwall, but now, Emily was attracted to the waters and her life had become an adventure. She has explored ruins forgotten under the surface, she could swim, warmed by the sun in the water, she had brushed whales and had listened to their romantic complaints. Emily was no longer an heir, she had become a mythological creature, being in line with fascinating stories she was used to read.

It was not selfishness which pushed her away Dunwall, but she had accepted her tail and her new salty universe. Emily did not know how far her father could go to find a cure, she did not know how old Sokolov was wearing his eyes and his joints out on works in vain. She did not know the poor teacher's head was nodding gently, in the middle of the night, above an encyclopedia.

Her head was light and dove again toward the depth.

Tired, exhausted, mind full of contradictions, Anton Sokolov closed the book, muttering. Delilah had shown a rich imagination when she had condemn Emily to be a mermaid, rare and unreal creature. There were no tracts about woman-fish anatomy and, unless they delivered Delilah from her pictorial prison, Sokolov was unaware of the spell which could free Emily.

Other methods existed, delicate, mostly amoral and unsure. With his ancient hands, his glassy eyes and his age, Sokolov could not do anything, but open books. Suddenly, the teacher had an idea, remembering a student he had before.

Absolutely brilliant and absolutely disturbing.