The Tale of The River Mermaid.
The day was ending at the South Tribe’s land. The Cacique, the tribe’s leader, was looking for his daughter, but he just couldn’t find her. He roamed the entire land, through the forest and the open field, but nothing. He asked his other children, Macaé, Macaí and Macaú, the young triplets, but they didn’t know a thing as well, and were more entertained in their little hide-and-seek game than their father.
“Did you check mom’s place yet?” Macaí suggested.
At the deepest part of the South river, there was a palace made entirely of crystal. There, Iara, Mother of Waters, ruled over all the rivers in the world. She was a tall and strong mermaid; her tail was the cleanest blue possible and her hair as black as the night.
Sitting in her throne, her daughter Iarinha accompanied her with the kingdom’s management, and she was very good at it.
“What do you think about King Bass’s proposal? Should I make alliance with their kind?” Iara asked.
“If you want to start a band, yes.” Iarinha joked, sitting on the throne’s arm.
“You silly girl!” Her mother laughed. “This is serious business, you know.”
“Sorry.” She apologized. “I think you should do it, they have one of the most important algae fields, and we could get a good price on them later on.”
“Good point.” Iara agreed with her daughter.
“Oh my…” Iarinha said as she checked her waterproof watch.
“What happened, sweetheart?”
“I lost track of time; I had to be back home half an hour ago.” She explained, ready to swim to the surface. “Dad’s going to kill me…”
“Your father set a time to be back home on you?” the queen asked. “Oh please, you’re already sixteen, sweetheart, that is absolutely not needed!” She was clearly not happy.
“It’s ok mom, really. School starts tomorrow anyways, and I should be packing right now.” She explained while she said goodbye to her mother. “Thanks for today; I had a lot of fun!”
And she dashed through the door, swimming to the surface of the river.
“That girl…” The queen rested her papers. “She forgot the necklaces she came here for, again.”
Reaching the surface and standing on land once again, she took her transparent cape off. The cape was magical, given to her by her mother, and made it able to the one using it to breathe underwater. Not only that, but it also kept you dry.
She hang it on her arm and dashed through the forest, reaching the tribe in seconds. There, the Cacique was already waiting for her, visibly angry.
“Iarinha, where have you been? You are very late, girl.”
“I’m sorry dad…” She had to gasp for air. “I was helping mom with the kingdom mena-”
“It doesn’t matter; go to your room, now!”
His deep voice and angry tone scared Iarinha, who entered her house in tears, shouting.
“I’m sorry, ok!”
She reached her room, where she was about to start packing her things, only to find them all packed already.
“But…” She opened the bags, and all the clothes were stored nicely.
“Did you like it?” Macaé entered his sister’s room, alongside his two brothers.
“We packed your things for you this afternoon.” Macaí explained.
“So you could have more free time.” Macaú continued.
Iarinha looked at her brothers. They obviously did that to spend a little more time with her sister.
Her heart got heavy. Iarinha used to be so close to them, but these past years, knowing her destiny and not having any options, she decided to avoid them as much as she could. And they felt it. It hurt them all.
But, from tomorrow and on, it wouldn’t ever be the same between her and the triplets. They would always be reminded that someday, they will be killed by their own sister.
So it would have to be now.
“I’m so grateful, brothers, thank you very much for what you did!” She thanked them, hugging.
“Say what, do you want to go get some food in the forest for today’s dinner with me? I’m thinking some fried cassava, what do you think?”
“Yes! Pretty please, yes!” They loved fried cassava. What kid doesn’t?
“You can go ahead; I’ll just call Sassy for a minute, ok?”
“Ok!” And they left for the forest.
Iarinha picked up her iMirror, which she never really uses; she is not into technology. With quite difficulty, she started a video conversation with her Best Friend Forever After, Sassy.
“Oh, my… Did I do it right? Sassy! Can you hear me?” She said after hearing the bip, clearly not used to the technology.
“Hey, Iarinha! Yeah, you did it! See, easy, isn’t it?” Sassy said, smiling with her big red lips.
“Yeah, I suppose so…” She agreed, showing her cute, shy smile.
“So, ready for school?” Sassy asked.
A long silence followed. Iarinha always tried not to think about what was going to happen this year at Legacy Bay, but they were going back to school tomorrow, that was bound to happen. And it always bought her down a little bit
“I guess so.” She finally said, a little too low even.
“Hey, sorry about that, sis.” She seemed to mean it.
“It’s ok…” She showed a smile again, erasing the thought away. Sassy was relieved to see it.
“So, have you packed everything up?”
She smiled at the packages. “Almost everything, I still have some necklaces that I left at mom’s palace that I have to get. But that’s all.”
And the necklaces were what she went to her mother’s place for in the first place.
“Great then! I’ll see you at 10 AM, then?”
“Yes, see you. Good night, Sassy!” Iarinha wished to her friend.
“Good night, Iarinha. Anything, I really mean it, anything that happens to you, you can call, ok?”
“Alright… Thanks, sis.” She smiled again. She loved to have Sassy as her friend; she was a really nice and uplifting girl.
“That’s what I’m here for.” And she ended the call, which Iarinha was relieved to see, as she didn’t know how to hang that up.
“To the harvesting now!” And she left to the forest, searching for her brothers and the cassavas.
A new day started at the Tribe, but Iarinha didn’t have one of the greatest nights… Again.
Yesterday’s dinner was superb. Everyone enjoyed their meal, and everyone went to bed full. Iarinha told her brothers a story so they would fall asleep (The Cassava’s tale, the triplets’ favorite one), and soon she was in deep slumber in her bed as well.
Still, her nights this past year haven’t been the nicest. She has actually been having frequent nightmares, about Legacy Day and her future as well. The scenes repeated themselves: she pledges her destiny at Legacy Day and suddenly a force starts to move her arm, a knife in her hand; she can’t control it, and she goes on a killing spree.
It’s horrible. This night was one of those nightmare nights again, and Iarinha had problems sleeping after that.
She wanted Sassy’s company. Her friend would always comfort her in that kind of situation, and she loved to be the dependent child sometimes.
For a change, you know.
After breakfast (various fresh fruits picked from their garden), Iarinha put her luggage on a boat on the South River, which was carried to Ever After High safely. She put her most comfortable sneakers, as they would have to go on foot, and waited for Sassy to come pick her up.
She was putting some fruits and sandwiches for the walk in her backpack when a voice called her from outside.
“Hey, anybody home? Iarinha, you there?” It was Sassy.
But she had no time to invite her friend inside, as her brothers dashed though the house to greet “aunt Sassy” first.
“Hey, hey, aunt, do the bubble trick again? Pleeease!”
“She can’t, Macaú, she has no pipe in her hand.”
“Oh, you need one to do it?”
“Hey, you little devils” She giggled. “Where’s your big sis?”
Iarinha appeared, and they all pointed to her.
“Hey sis!” Sassy hugged her friend tight. “Ready to go?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Both said goodbye to the triplets, who were almost crying before they both promised to keep contact though video chats, and to Iarinha’s father, who only said a dry “goodbye” before the girls set foot on the road.
The walk was long, and by the end of it, they were both very tired. They weren’t exactly nicely welcomed to the school either. At Ever After High, you are harshly judged based on your parent’s tale; Sassy being the inconvenient prankster and Iarinha the murderer mermaid, all they heard was bad comments in whispers with no eye contact at all.
Iarinha felt her heart go heavier, even more than yesterday. She didn’t want to have it either, you know… Why couldn’t they just understand that?
Seeing her friend almost in tears, Sassy hugged Iarinha in the way to their room. She really liked it and was grateful she had a friend by her side at that hard moment.
Lucky, they were both roommates again this year, but the room was quite full of dust, and had to be redecorated. Their luggage were already there, so they went on a full cleaning spree, and by lunchtime, it was all clean.
As they were starving, they had one big lunch before heading to Book End Alley to get some new furnishings for their room. Iarinha took the most time she could there. Their next appointment wasn’t exactly pleasant: Legacy Day rehearsal. Iarinha couldn’t even think about it.
But there was no more time to waste, so they made their way back to the school shortly.
As usual, the most known tales were the first to sign the Storybook of Legends first. Snow White’s tale was the first one in the line, so its characters were the first to rehearse it as well.
Apple White was perfect. No stuttering, no hair strand out of its place, a voice so sweet you could fall even for the worst speech ever created. She opened the rehearsal book and pledged her destiny without hesitating the slightest.
However, the same didn’t happen to her to-be-antagonist, Raven Queen:
“I was just wondering… What if I don’t want to take the pledge?…” She asked to Headmaster Grimm.
Everyone went open-mouthed. Iarinha ceased to breathe. Someone was doing exactly what she wished most to do, but didn’t have enough courage to.
“If you don’t pledge your destiny, your story ceases to exist; and so, you will cease to exist.”
It was a dead end. Iarinha was almost crumbling down at this point. In one hand, she would have to pledge her destiny, and she would have to kill her brothers; being thrown into the river by her father shortly after. In the other, she would refuse to pledge her destiny and disappear in the same moment. That wasn’t the worst part: if she wasn’t filling that position. Other person from her family would. One of her brothers.
The following night was the worst of all. Nightmare after nightmare filled her mind, all about Legacy day, and the killing spree she would be obligated to do. To kill them all, or to let one of her brothers do it? The nightmares portrayed both situations without much sense, but still terrifying.
She knew she was struggling when she woke up because she did so in Sassy’s arms. Her friend was hugging her very tight, and she tried to comfort her.
“Iarinha, look at me, sis, it’s ok! I’m here!” She was even tighter than before. “I’m here, I’m here… There, there…” She wiped the tears of her face; tears Iarinha didn’t even notice were there.
“Oh, Sassy…” She stopped to hiccup briefly, and proceeded to explain. “I don’t want to have to kill my brothers, I love them so much to do that! But I don’t want to disappear either! One of them will get my place after that!” She started to cry again. “I’m just so lost!…”
She couldn’t stop crying anymore. She just wished she didn’t have such a responsibility, and that she could just live her life with her family and Sassy, with no worries or places to fill.
And with that image on her head, she went to sleep, knowing that was only a wish that would never come true.
Not even in a tale land.
Is just the beginning.