Monday, September 5, 2016

Gronk and the Mermaid

Gronk trudged through the salt marsh. He didn't know much. He did know he needed to find his friend. He would need help to do that and there was a mermaid who called this place her home. Everyone spoke of her wisdom and beauty. He had no use for the latter, but he needed the former.

There was a splash in the near distance. The voice that came from it was like music. "You'd best have a good reason for stepping onto my lands, creature. I know not what you are, but I know I can best you." The maiden's torso became visible as she sat up out of the pooling brine.

"I don't know what I am, either. My mother told me her husband was a troll." Gronk squatted and held out open hands. "I know you can beat me. I come bearing no weapons. I want to help my friend, but I don't know how. I know where they are, but they're guarded by powerful magic."

Her fair features were marred by distrust. "Who is this friend, troll-kin?"

"He is called Dravid the Loquacious." It had taken Gronk many days to learn how to say the word. "We were part of the traveling circus that traveled these lands until he decided we could do better on our own. Now we make more money, but it's dangerous work."

She shook her head. "Does he use you to scare villagers and pretend to rescue you?"

An unexpected laugh rumbled from Gronk's chest. "Would that work? Because it seems only those stupider than I would fall for it."

The mermaid echoed the laugh. "You seem like a good creature, Gronk. How did your friend Dravid become trapped."

"We were helping a shepherd in those hills a day's walk from here. Something had been eating his sheep. He thinks it is a monster of some kind. It turns out there's a wizard who's experimenting on them. He wants to make wool into gold." Gronk shook his head. "Wizards are stupid. Gronk knows that would devalue the coin of the realm. Anyway, Dravid was cursed by this wizard and turned him into a fish and cast him into your realm. I need you to find him and turn him back."

"What happened to this stupid wizard, oh truly remarkable creature?" There was a smile on her lips.

"Wizards, in addition to being stupid, break very easily." He raised hands the size of wagon wheels and made a motion like breaking a stick. "Can you help me find my friend."

"Come to me." She rose her full height out of the water, her body wreathed in light. A long trident of flame filled her hand. "Stand behind me and look where I look."

Gronk did as he was asked. He put his hand on her shoulder, in case she did anything foolish. Once he looked where she was looking, he saw a fish dancing and leaping from the marsh. "Is that him?"

"It is. And now, so long as you walk in that direction you will see him." She pulled a stone from the net bag around her waist. It sparkled with an internal fire. "Touch him with this and it will return him to his natural form."

Gronk took the stone and nodded his thanks. He put it in the pouch at his own waist. "You have my gratitude. It is as big as I am."

"Truly a boon. I will hold it as a treasure." She sank back into the water up to her breasts.

Gronk turned and began trudging through the salt marsh to his friend. When he completed this task, the mermaid wouldn't be the only one who owed Gronk a thanks. It wasn't the first time he'd had to pull the man out of a fire of his own creation. The world thought just because you were well spoken, it meant you were also smart. The world was just as wrong about that as it was about the notion of how important beauty was.

Art Source: Mermaid by hoooook on Deviant Art
Story and Characters (c)/by Scott Roche

#Fantasy #Beauty #Friendship #ScottRoche


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