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Chapter 4: The Pull of the Sea
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Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 2650
Location: The Royal Palace

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:55 pm    Post subject: Chapter 4: The Pull of the Sea  

The Story So Far: You are Lewellyn, the son of the Merfolk King, though you yourself have the legendary form of a Maker, with two arms and two legs, instead of a merman. To avoid the notice of the Emperor who might see you as a threat to his rule, you’ve been raised on a remote island. The mermaid Lalomea brought Lodevar the Ram King, another Maker like you, to your island. Lalomea and Lodevar told you that your father was preparing to sacrifice Lodevar’s people, the Sheepheads, to keep you safe from the Emperor. They asked you to convince your father to help the Sheepheads instead of betraying them. You ran off, and hid in the bushes while Lodevar and Father talked. Father offered to defend Freehome, the island home of the Sheepheads, if the Ram King lets you go to another island.

Last Decision: Come out of hiding and ask to go to Freehome, and refuse to go to another island even if Father insists on it.

“Let Lewellyn come to Freehome,” says Lodevar in reply to Father’s offer. “He’ll be protected by two armies there, yours and mine. And he can learn about the real world.” The thought of Freehome excites you, but Lodevar’s condescension is irritating. He only met you hours ago, and he’s already judging your life.

Father shakes his head in disbelief. “Send Lewellyn to a war zone? Are you mad?”

“Together we can keep him safe,” insists Lodevar. I can keep myself safe too, you think angrily.

“Out of the question!” bellows Father. “Now I have made you a generous offer – the protection of Freehome in exchange for the safety of my son. Accept or not, but know that if you refuse your people’s lives are forfeit.”

You’re hardly listening anymore. Your heart is pounding with fear and anger at both of them. The words of Horchow come back to you: What do you want for your life? Make of it what you will. You’ve never talked back to Father before, but it’s time to have a say in your own life. You start pushing your way through the thick leaves of the arwal bush and into the open.

“All right,” says Lodevar. “I accept.”

And just then you push past the last of the vegetation and walk out onto the beach. You blink in the sudden light.

“Of course, my son, hiding in the bushes,” says Father with a sigh. “There’s nothing to be afraid of now, Lewellyn. We’ve worked out a deal.”

“No, Father,” you say, trying to keep your voice steadier than you feel, “I don’t want to go to another island. I want to go to Freehome.”

Father scowls. “You don’t know what you’re saying. It’s too dangerous.”

Your voice rises. “I’m ready for the danger. I want to see the world.”

“Absolutely not! Now do not argue! Come into the sea now.” His voice brooks no argument.

Your throat feels tight, and you’re flushed all over. But somehow you know that if you back down now, you’ll never be able to stand up to him. “No, Father,” you say. “I’m not going.”

Father stares at you as though his eyes are going to pop out of his head. There’s a long, uncomfortable pause, which is finally broken by the laughter of the Ram King.

“Well, Your Majesty, maybe you should reconsider my offer. Your son has a mind of his own.”

Father glares at Lodevar. “You agreed to let Lewellyn go.”

“I am letting him go. But he’s not going.”

“All right, then,” Father says. “Just don’t interfere.”

Then Father turns back to you, his face dark and angry. “Do you think you are King? That you rule the sea?”

It seems to be a rhetorical question. You say nothing.

“No,” says Father. “I am King. I rule the sea. And the sea rules you.” And he raises his scepter high, and strikes the water by the side of his sea-chariot.

Waves spread out from the point of impact. He strikes the water again, and again, in the same place. More and more waves spread out toward the shore, toward you. As they come in, they start to grow.

You’re on dry sand, forty feet from the edge of the ocean; the waves can’t reach you. But there’s something strange about them. Why are they getting bigger?

Father continues to strike the water. The first waves break upon the shore. The water comes up the beach partway, and then falls back –

Falls back? Or keeps coming?

You blink in the bright sunlight and shake your head. The waves are falling back to the ocean just like they should. But you can feel something else, rolling up the shore, covering the beach. You can’t see it or hear it, but you know that something is rising up out of the water. Something strong.

You try to step back, but your legs are heavy and slow. Father strikes the water again. More waves crash in, each one pushing the strange feeling of something farther and farther up the beach. You take a step back, two, but it comes in faster than you move. It touches your feet and they go numb. It flows past and around you, and the numbness rises to your legs.

You look to Lodevar. “Help!” But he’s far to the side, on the rocky pier. He tries to clamber down, but the waves crash against him and he falls.

The numbness comes to your waist. Then Father stops striking the water, and in an instant, the something all around you becomes a pull drawing you to the sea.

You stagger forward, first one step, then another, then you’re running, almost falling over as the rushing carries you forward. You quickly cover the short distance to the sea, and your feet touch the waves, the pull still dragging you further and further in until you stagger splashing into chest-high water, and Father’s guards grab you and pull you under.

Your head underwater, you start to panic. But the guards put something around your neck and say, “Breathe.” You take a cautious sniff. Water slips into your lungs but it doesn’t choke you. It feels good. In amazement, you breathe it in, as your fingers gingerly reach up to feel a string of pearls around your neck. Could I have used this before? Could I always have gone underwater if I’d had this necklace?

But you have no time to wonder, as the guards quickly bring you before Father. He shakes his head in disgust.

“This is a poor day for you, son. You did not act like a king today.”

His disappointment is like a weight. You say nothing.

“An enemy invades your island – your kingdom! – and what do you do? Cower in the bushes. And when you finally come out, you want to do what he asks, instead of following your own father’s orders! You are weak when you should be strong, strong when you should be weak, and foolish throughout.

“If you had killed him, I would have been impressed. If you had escaped to the guards, at least that would have been something. But to stay there and take his side, and then resist when I reach a deal for your safety…” Father shakes his head again. “There are no words for my disappointment.”

“Father,” you say, “why can’t I go to Freehome? I’ll be safe there, and –”

“Silence!” roars Father. “Don’t be a fool. Freehome will be overrun within days, and every last Sheephead slaughtered. That was always the plan.”

The bluntness of his words shocks you. “But- but why can’t we defend it? Why can’t we ally with them?”

Father scowls. “You have to think like a king, son. Don’t help the weak and despised, who can only drag you down. Better to ally with the strong, who can make you strong in return. The Sheephead alliance was just a front; once they’re all dead, we’ll go back to trading with the Bullroars.”

“But all those innocent people…they’ll all be killed.”

His face grows harder. “Don’t be a jellyfish. The Sheepheads aren’t even our people. As King, you’ll have to order the deaths of lots of foreigners.”

But you can’t think about being King. All you can think about is how wrong Father is, and how all those people are going to die. You don’t know what to say; finally you blurt out, “But- but you promised! You swore on your crown!”

At this Father dives toward you, grabs you by the shoulder, and pulls you in front of him, his face filled with rage only inches away. “Don’t you get it? A King answers to no one! Being King is not about helping people, or making friends, or keeping promises. It’s about being the biggest fish in the sea: the strongest, the smartest, the most feared.”

He glares at you. “Do you think Lodevar fears you? Do you?” You say nothing. “I’m going to kill him now, so it doesn’t matter, but if he’d lived he would never have respected you with the way you acted today.”

Father pushes you away. When he speaks again, his voice is lower. “Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it was a mistake to raise you on land, and give you a classical education. You were prophesied to be a great king if you lived, so I thought all I had to do was keep you alive, that you’d have the- the instinct…for rulership. But that damned turtle has filled your head with air, and you’ve never learned the law of the sea: that the big fish eat the small.

“Taking you to another island isn’t going to help. So from now on, you’ll live in the sea. We’ll provide you with what you need to breathe.”

Live in the sea? You’ve dreamed of living in the sea ever since you were small, and seeing Ulderea and Father’s Palace…You never knew it was possible.

Then Father speaks again, his voice flat: “You’ll live in the Bone Trench, and swim with the sharks. No one will bring you food; you’ll eat only what you can kill. No mermaid will sing to you, or give you gifts, or tell you stories. You’ll learn the cold, hard lessons of the deep. And you’ll learn to make the sharks fear you, because if they don’t…well, I’ll keep them from killing you, but I won’t keep them from hurting you. Many a merman has grown braver from losing an ear or a finger or a bit of flesh to the sea; if that’s what it takes to make you a King, it’s well worth the cost.”

Without looking at you, Father says, “Take him away,” and the guards quickly grab you and swim off.

You’re in shock. You don’t know how long you spend trying to understand what just happened, as the sea rushes past you and you breathe it in for the first time. Maybe you sleep or black out; you don’t remember.

But eventually, the soldiers stop for a rest, and you come to your senses. There’s an entire school of merfolk surrounding you: over a hundred soldiers, plus dolphins, messenger fish, sailfish, and other sea creatures that the folk often swim with. You know many of the soldiers from their guard duty around your island. They were always happy to tell you stories about life under the sea. But now their mood is somber.

The guard commander is Mirisian, an old merman who used to play with you in the lagoon when you were a child. “Mirisian,” you plead. “You know this isn’t right, what Father is doing to me, what he’s doing to the Sheepheads. He swore on his crown that he would help them.”

Mirisian just gives you a sad little shrug, as if to say, What can we do? He’s the King.

What do you do?

Read the posts below, and click "Post Reply" to post a suggestion for the Lewellyn’s next action. Anyone is welcome to post. You can suggest what he would do based on his personality, what you think he should do based on what would be best, or just in general what seems like a good idea to you. Feel free to comment on other’s suggestions, but please be courteous.

You're also welcome to ask questions about Lewellyn's background or about the world of the Wheel.
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Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 2567
Location: USA

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject:  

Father thinks I should act like a King, but I think a leader acts with compassion. If he believes I should be more assertive, then I wonder how he'd feel if I discovered the source of his power, and took it? Maybe if I held that scepter, then I could control him as a puppet on a string. I might talk to these soldiers and find friends among them, gain allies.
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Joined: 04 Mar 2005
Posts: 1199
Location: On the beaches with Dr. Suess' Sneeches. Only the star-bellied ones, of course.

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:35 am    Post subject:  

Hey Key, great chapter!

I would play along and then sneak out of the bone trench.
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Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:57 am    Post subject:  

Lewellyn is finding his backbone! YAY! :)

Ok seriously, One thing about tyrants is that there are always plenty of people unhappy with his rule. There will always be the oppressed, and overlooked people, waiting for someone to lead them to something better. I think it's time for a revolution and Lewellyn is just the man to lead them.
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Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:57 pm    Post subject:  

Hey Key, I just noticed something. You always say, "click "Post Reply" to post a suggestion" at the end. However, you should probably change this, as if someone clicked on post it would start a new topic, not a reply!

I think Llewellyn should try to escape.
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Joined: 18 May 2004
Posts: 3750
Location: Virginia

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:02 pm    Post subject:  

What do I do? Soldiers all around me. No one there to help. The Bone Trench. I shudder. To live in such conditions. Such a change from when I was on land. But I know I am right. I can be a better King than my Father. It is not about being the strongest. No one is strong by themselves. Perhaps if I do survive, I can find a way to get to Freehome.
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:03 am    Post subject:  

ethereal_fauna wrote: Father thinks I should act like a King, but I think a leader acts with compassion. If he believes I should be more assertive, then I wonder how he'd feel if I discovered the source of his power, and took it? Maybe if I held that scepter, then I could control him as a puppet on a string. I might talk to these soldiers and find friends among them, gain allies.

Key, it´s incredible how you create I read the last paragraphs, I felt exactly like fauna....I think everybody else thinks the same....
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Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 2567
Location: USA

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:09 am    Post subject:  

D-Lotus wrote: I read the last paragraphs, I felt exactly like fauna....

:shock: Who are you and what have you done to D-Lotus? 8)
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Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 1765

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 4:49 am    Post subject:  

Llewelynshould do as his father says. This idea of fighting off the sharks etc. will make him stronger. When he's stronger he can flee and join Lodevar. For now, Lodevar will have to help himself.
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Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject:  

What about faking an injury in the shark place so that the king will bring you back, then usurping the throne while he thinks you´re weak?

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Merilly Dayzed

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:58 pm    Post subject:  

I should convince Mirisian that the prophesies about me being a great King someday are true so that Mirisian will help me escape. I don't have to believe it myself, but the King must be stopped. The truth is obvious. Much as we may choose to delude ourselves, we know when our destiny is bigger than our father's will. And the people around us, the decent ones, respond to decency and truth. The king is far away now. I am the loudest voice they hear. There is enough time to save Lodovar, another of the twelve kings. I just have to step up and be the man, not the scared little boy, that I was meant to be. At least for an hour or so...
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Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 2650
Location: The Royal Palace

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:08 pm    Post subject:  

Thanks for the great suggestions. Poll's up!
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Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 2650
Location: The Royal Palace

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:06 am    Post subject:  

Thanks for the voting. Poll has closed and a new chapter is posted.
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