“My dear sisters” Queen speaks, biting down on her tongue and pursing her lips. “My beautiful, lovely sisters. I welcome you to tonight’s Feast.” Nobody dares say a word. There is a hushed silence that I have never witnessed before. Not even the Queen could silence a crowd of Folk so easily. Nothing can entrance my kind like this.
“Today we say goodbye to a darling little sister of ours, in hope that she finds solace in the undersea Kingdom of the dead.” Her eyes dart to a stone table in the distance, eying the Court of the dead girl. There is a disturbing glint of pleasure in her eyes. I have never known someone who takes pride in the death of a sister. It does not befit our kind. “While her soul roams the trenches in the next few days, we will be here. We will be making a decision that will change the history of our kind forever.”
Voices erupt in tiny pools of thought. Our kind has not changed in over one hundred years.
“My Queen” My sister, Analy, asks loudly. Her voice shakes, but her head is held high. Even being given the honour of sitting at the Queen’s table, our opinions are not always wanted. “My lady, I do not understand” Her small voice, her small timid manner is what attracts so many men. They want to protect her, they want to save her and love her.
“Luckily, dear, it is not your job to understand. When the time comes I will tell you all my great surprise” Her sharp teeth grind themselves as she stares at the sailors in front of us. “But for now,” She says quietly, “We feast”
As we feats with our new challenge of deciphering the code we have been given, hardly anyone dares breathe a word. Blood pools in foggy thick clouds as teeth and nails tear the flesh from bones, which are callously thrown from the tables. The blood thickens in the water until it is all we can see. The poor men are drained in minutes, their faces forever glued in varied expressions of torture and misery. Even in death they are sad.
Despite my abstinence when it comes to giving in to my instincts, I must at the very least pretend to deserve my position at the Queen’s table. I recognize the faces of the sisters around me, sisters from assorted Courts who have all been requested. Looking around, I cannot understand what has influenced her decision-making. We are all beautiful here, but our kind is typically beautiful. We are all young, new enough to killing to have fresh eyes and the ability to welcome new traditions, though experienced enough to kill swiftly. I must look at them individually. The answer must be here.
She chose my sister Analy, who is two years older than me and very beautiful. Her golden hair streams in waves in the current, contorting into beautiful images in the water. Her face has a rosy glow that brightens during a hunt. She has strong bones on her cheeks that stretch her scaly skin into a beautiful work of art on her face. Analy is perhaps the closest sister I have. She is the only one who asks questions of where I’ve been when I find myself disappearing in the night. She holds me close to her chest and wraps me in her long hair when I am sad and decorates my body with precious stones and flowers she finds during her day. She is a sweet soul and a vicious killer who knows just who to target in a battle. She is quick and her beauty lures men to their deaths faster than any in my Court. Among others chosen to sit with the Queen there are three others from our Caves, three older sisters named Ellis, Hyrah and Serrin. Ellis is the oldest at the table. Her sharp, thin features and pale green skin are beautiful against her stark white hair that falls down in back in long braids. As a killer, she does fairly well. She is strong and competent, and always willing to fight. Hyrah and Serrin, born from the same storm, are tall tanned sisters, with black hair, dark black eyes and a demon’s soul. They would take down a ship of children if they desired to. They would kill little girls, and the most likely to kill one of our sisters. The other girls are sisters I do not know. We share little in common, but each is one I have heard of. Each has a reputation. Everyone but me is a killer. Is this the Queen’s way of saying she knows that I’ve been lying?
No, she would have no way of knowing that. Nobody knows.
Finally I understand. Nobody knows that I am not a killer. Looking at me from her perspective, I am a perfect killer. Nobody ever sees me during a kill, which means that I must be swift and fast. I’m gone before anyone realizes I’m not there, which means I kill someone before the rest of the boat even knows my sister’s are near. The storm I was born from created no other sisters, and it was big enough to have created many more. Because of it I was named Adria, after the Adriatic Sea in which I came from. Up against the others, I look no different. My dark auburn brown hair and pale fleshy scales make a stunning combination. I have spiked elbows, sharp with bony fins that stick out of my skin. There are cuts all over my body, showing that I am not scared of getting hurt, when in reality it shows that I hide in my coral cove too much. It is a sign of cowardice, not of bravery.
Looking around at our table I see it. I see the pattern.
Our Queen is looking for a successor.
My eyes widen in shock. Of course the rumors would be true, of course of course of course. This would change our history, being under the rule of a new sister. It is questionable, who she chose from other Courts. I can see a hint of suspicious in everyone’s face, though I know I am the only one to piece it all together; just as I am the only one here that does not belong. I hide and lie to my family, while their courage and ferocity drives them to great lengths. These are the girls that enjoy what our kind do for a living. I am a coward among heroes. This is not good. I don’t know how one of us will be chosen, but I know without even having to ask that I will be forced to kill again.
I will be forced to face what I’ve been hiding from since I was twelve years old.
Somehow I see the wicked glint in her eyes and I know what is coming. She will force us to become as ruthless and as despicable as she is. We aren’t welcoming a new era for our kind; she is beckoning an even darker one.