AN: So, yes, this is a retelling of The River's Gift, a beautiful little story by Mercedes Lackey. I love this story, but it would seem no one else has heard of it. Well, I'm sure someone has...err...right?

This is entirely the same as the book, only it is from Merod's perspective. This was actually an English assignment from two years ago (retell your favorite fairy tale from another character's point of view...), so I'd like to think that it isn't too bad, but that my writing has improved.

Everything belongs to Mercedes Lackey. That's not me.

Blah indicates where anyone is thinking or using mind-to-mind speech. Umm, I think that's all you need to know.

The River's Gift from Merod's perspective

By DarkangelWings1324

Human beings are pains, aren't they? They're always throwing their garbage everywhere. I mean, there I was, just minding my own business, walking down my river and then I step on something that hurt.

I knew a stone wouldn't hurt that much. I realized the one thing that could cause that much pain, like it's going strait to the bone, is Cold Iron. Cold Iron being one of the few things that can kill my kind, the faerie.

Familiar and reasonable panic seized me. It'll be okay, I thought, trying to calm myself. You need to find someone to pull it out. What was that rumor you heard about a healing girl? Think Merod, think.

Merod, of course is not my name. My real name would give whoever learned it absolute power over me. But Merod is the name I use most often.

Wasn't it a bird that told me... oh yes the one that had its wing fixed. That girl, the healing one from the manor, she should be by the river about now. I should hurry; my hoof is already twice its normal size.

By the time I reached the river the mortal was indeed there. She was sitting by the water with a dazed look on her face. I got up out of the water and started towards her, and she just stared at me. I could tell she wasn't going to move anytime soon so I went and bumped her with my nose.

She jumped a foot, no doubt surprised to find a Kelpie or riverhorse standing before her. I whinnied at her and glared with my now red eyes. I hated mortals.

I then had to deal with the rather unpleasant feeling of someone slamming into my mind. The mortal, it seemed, had tried to touch it. I don't envy what it did to her; she looked like she had gotten thrown into a wall.

I could hear the next thought going through her mind. Something about my not being a horse.

Of course I'm not a horse, foolish little mortal child. Now get your wits about you and help me, I snapped. She obviously wasn't too long in the brain department.

I showed her my hoof and she agreed to help. She took a look and pulled out a horseshoe nail-puller. If my foot hadn't hurt so badly then maybe I would have made a full retreat, but as it was I just refused to let her near me.

The mortal child stubbornly persisted it was necessary to help. I finally agreed but only if she wouldn't touch me with them. After we reached a deal began what felt like an hour of pain as she slowly pulled the nail (that is what it was) out.

When she was done all I wanted was to leave, but my nagging curiosity wouldn't let me until I asked her something.

You helped me mortal child. I was rude and angry but you helped me. Why? I asked.

"You were hurt and asked for help. You haven't drowned anyone here either," she explained.

I wouldn't taint the water, mortal child, I responded.

"I really wish you would stop calling me 'mortal child' I don't call you 'soulless demon'," she snapped. "My name is Ariella."

If I had surprised her when I appeared, it was nothing to what she did to me, by telling me her true name.

And you may call me Merod, Ariella, I said. I could tell that my eyes had changed back to their normal green.

In the end we reached a poor bargain. All she wanted was for me not to drown anyone from the manor. I wouldn't anyway, so it wasn't very good for her. I then left to return to the deeper part of the river.

That night all I could think about was that girl. She seemed nice and more intelligent than I had given her credit for. I resolved to visit her the next day to try and get to know her better.

When I returned, she was looking after another Faerie creature who had a cough. I laughed at her surprise that he had come to her. I explained that they trusted her now because she kept her word to me, and she could now speak to faerie creatures and that she would now have them as added patients.

Over the summer I continued to visit her and we became friends. I had no idea mortals could be interesting at all, but Ariella proved they were. She was full of interesting questions about Faerie-folk, which I answered for her.

One day she asked if I had met any of the Great Faerie and I showed her my gifts from them. The three wishes- the first to make me mortal and the other two to be shared. I also commented that I only kept them because they were pretty, because I would never want to be mortal.

We talked a lot and I finally convinced her to stop wasting time on lady-lessons and to go out and take care of the mortals, Faerie and animals alike, that needed her help. After that I gave her the equivalent of a human kiss. She seemed shocked and I was a little embarrassed, but all the same, it felt right.

I also created illusions for her of how her late mother had looked and of the Great Faerie dancing. In addition I taught Ariella how to swim. She learned enough not to drown if she fell in at least.

When the harvest came I was sad to see her go. She would be gone a couple fortnights at least. I had known she would have to help, but I knew I would miss her. I kissed her again and she didn't seem so shocked. We bid each other farewell, and I didn't see her for a much longer time than anyone expected.

I watched as much of the harvest as possible that year. I watched the mortals bring in the hay, grain, vegetables, nuts, flowers, and fruits. I even saw the ending ceremony of the Corn Maiden. It went well for the mortals from what I could see. Then Lord Kaelin, Ariella's father, collapsed. By the time the manor animals relayed the message to the forest that he was indeed dead, Ariella had been gone for easily another fortnight. I wanted to see her but I understood that she wouldn't be allowed to leave so I waited for more news from the manor.

By the time the word came of her cousin, Lord Lyon, and their arranged wedding, he had already taken her. The reports from the manor were that while he could be considered handsome to mortal eyes, he was cruel to both his servants and animals. I did not want to think of how he would treat Ariella. I obviously couldn't just leave her there, but I had no idea what to do.

I spent almost two full days brooding over what to do.

Finally I knew what I had to do. I couldn't go anywhere as a riverhorse, and I remembered the Great Ones gifts. The first will make me mortal... I shuddered. The thought of having to be a mortal for however short a time was horrible, but to save Ariella, any price was worth it.

It worked as it was supposed to, that the first wish broke and was granted as soon as I wanted it. My elegant black horse's body was replaced by an ungainly human one. The only things that remained of me were my green eyes and long black hair. As soon as the wish had been granted, a small otter-maid appeared holding human clothes for me, made entirely out of black velvet. Another came, holding boots and gloves of the same material.

I dressed and thanked them, and they kindly provided me with the direction this Lord Lyon went.

I followed the Lord and Ariella at a great distance so I would not be detected. It was near two weeks of walking after them, making sure no one knew that I was there and that I didn't loose them.

I arrived at the castle about three days after Ariella and Lyon did. I decided I would never want to call him 'Lord'. I slipped into my guise of an entertainer to perform illusions at the upcoming wedding.

Lyon was distrustful of me, thinking me a Faerie come to steal his bride. Oh how right you are. I thought, noting that while he could be deemed handsome by some, he looked evil to me.

I said, "Test me any was you like. I assure you, I am human."

First he had me kiss a silver cross. That test was easily passed. The second test was to hold a sword. At first the thought of holding Cold Iron gave me chills, but being mortal does have advantages, mainly being the lack of weakness towards said Cold Iron.

Satisfied that I was human, Lyon tested my ability as a conjurer. I gave him a good vision of a magic tree with fruit that hatched into birds. Not as good as when I was a Kelpie, but pretty good all the same.

I slept in his dreadful castle that night, almost sick that I was in the same castle as Ariella, yet I could not see her.

The next day I went to the courtyard to 'welcome' the new couple. After maybe an hour they finally came down, hand in hand. I was glad to see Ariella made no attempt to hide her hatred of the man beside her.

I glided over preparing to give my wedding gifts to them.

Ariella was dressed in a gown of gold and red, decorated with lions. I felt like killing Lyon for his mark upon Ariella, but instead I walked, all smiles, over and presented to him a marvelous gold and ruby ring in the shape of a lion. The idiot nearly started drooling, and the ring made everything in his castle look cheap by comparison.

I stepped over to Ariella and slipped one of my wishes into her hand. "Some things are meant to be shared," I said.

She glanced at the gift at the same moment I willed them both to break. Light filled my body, turning my arms into wings, stretching my neck, and making feathers appear.

The last Lord Lyon saw of his bride was a white swan following a black one (me) away.

In the air Ariella finally recognized me. How did you know where I was? She asked, Why did you come for me?

Follow. I replied.

We landed next to a small pond, where we immediately became human again.

I explained that we were now swan-folk, meaning we were human on land, and swans in the water and the air. I told her why I had come for her, and that we could stay together always.

Then I told her my true name.

Okay, the end. I only did very minor revisions to fix a few tense changes at the beginning. I may at some point go through and revise this, trying to make it longer, better, and the like. The end is a little..sappy? for me, so I'd possibly change that a little too. Maybe. Well, please tell me what you thought. I like feedback.