She came of age in her father’s castle. The festivities went on forever, at least it seemed so to the restless Princess.  Ari moved  through the crowds,  stopped over and over again, was offered felicitations, titbits to eat, all the latest gossip. She nodded, smiled until her cheeks were numb.  On the outside she was the perfect princess….inside, the impatience boiled.

She just wanted to go!

Tonight was the night she had yearned for, dreamt of, for months. Tonight for the first time in her life,  she would leave her father’s castle, and journey to the far reaches of his realm.

At long last,  her father called her to his side, and quietly gave her leave to begin her journey. Kissing him hastily on his cheek, she was off like a shot.


She was at the shore. Rocks jutted around the harbor like dark spires. The sound of gulls was a harsh and lonely echo, the sound of the waves mournful counterpoint. The wind blew her long hair around her face, and she brushed it impatiently away. She had to see what was going on!

The cries of the woman had drawn her attention. She would have gone forward, given what aid she could, had not the woman’s cries of  “Yes! OH! YES!”  followed directly after her loud moans. They  stopped her in her tracks, but the sounds of moaning and groaning kept her hiding behind the rocks, as she stealthily peered around them, watching avidly.

He was large, and lay atop the woman sprawled there. She had thought he was a monster, as he pinned her, but the  woman was grasping his shoulders,  and crying out with a blissful joy that Ari had never heard before.  The woman arched, her hair fanning out on the sand of the beach, her arms weaving around his back, his neck, her breasts squashed flat against his chest.

His buttocks clenched, working  up and down in wild gyrations. His back gleamed with sweat, his hair, as dark as midnight, was all waves, like the sea at midnight, tossing about his head. When they both cried out, she jolted, and gasped. The sound of the waves crashing had surely buried the sound of it, or the two were so engaged as to not notice aught but each other.

She watched, ensnared in the drama unfolding before her.  The waves crashed, gulls screamed as they rode the wind, the sun painted the sand in golden hues, and still the lovers held to one another.

At long last they rolled apart. He helped her to rise, and Ari saw the truth of them. His legs were thickly muscled, and covered with dark hairs. He had a thicker mat of hair at the junction of his legs,  and a strange jumble of flesh hanging from that dense forest.  The woman was slender-waisted, hips flaring in a gentle curve, until they too split into two slender columns.  There was a deep cleft between her thighs, and the sheen of wetness there as well.

Ari watched as, hand in hand, the two lovers walked across the sand. She continued to watch,  hidden, as they dressed quickly, then climbed the hidden path up the stone-faced cliff.  With a sigh of longing, she turned in the water, and dove beneath the waves.


“You went to the edge, didn’t you?”

Her sister Coraline looked at her, reading her face before she could even reply.

“You did! Were you terrified? What did you see?”

“I….” She fell silent. How to express and explain what she had seen.

“Well? Arianna, tell me! I told you of the great ship that I saw on my first journey. It’s not fair of you to hold back.”

“The youngest is always spoilt.” This from their sister, Shelly. She tossed her dark hair, watching it undulate on the current.  She had 4 children of her own, and she understood the nature of ‘spoiling’…by the time the last one came around, you just didn’t feel like fighting.  Her view on this was pragmatic, and certainly necessary…or she would have skinned all her offspring by now! Mermen! They were the same headstrong lot the world over.

“I’m not spoiled…I…just don’t have words. Their clothing was so beautiful.”

“It would hurt to wear all those things on your body!”

“They had NO tails.”

“Poor creatures!”

“They were….mating…on the beach.”

“You saw them fucking??!” Shelly flopped over to stare at Ari. “How do they???  I …” she waved a hand in front of her face, fanning the water where her flushed cheeks had warmed it. “Tell us, Ari.”

That was the older sister Ari knew. So bossy.

“He has a worm between his…stubs.”

“Legs, Ari, they’re called legs, not stubs.” Coraline giggled.

“A worm? How could he keep a worm there?”

The girls giggled, thinking of the sea worms that moved sluggishly across the sea bottom.

“It wasn’t a real worm, it just looked that way. It stuck out at first, but after he…pierced the girl with it, it just hung down.”

“You’re not making any sense.” Shelly tossed her hair again. “How could he be jutting out, and then limp? And pierced her? How? Like a swordfish?”

Ari showed them the split between the woman’s legs, explained about the hole there, and the ‘worm” that darted in and out of the hole.

The girls giggled merrily. It seemed so much more cumbersome than how mermen mated…spraying their semen into the water where their mate lay, as she rolled and swam through the cloudy fog. They would do this many times a day until she quickened with their offspring.

“The way he touched her…it was…” Ari trailed off, unable to explain the thrill it gave her, to see them touching. His hands on her body, touching her breasts, not just to receive milk, but to give pleasure. She tried to push away the envy.

It wasn’t easy.


Later, after her sisters had gone, she floated around her room. In her hands was a strand of the finest pearls. She had pearls aplenty. What she wanted, however, was not pearls. Her mind played back to the female on the beach, as she had walked with her lover to the cliff. There they had dressed, he in fine clothing, she in simpler garb, and hand-in-hand had climbed up and out of sight.

She wanted to be that female. But she had no legs with which to walk, no clothing to dress in. There was a way, but there would be a price to pay. Sighing, she moved stealthily out of her room, exited the royal palace.

The swim to the wizard woman’s lair grew darker, colder. Drunada the Sea Witch lived in eternal gloom, making the journey even more frightening. Not many came to see her, that was true, and what she knew of the witch and her powers was all here say.

With a shaking hand, Ari, touched the conch shell, which immediately sang out a shocking note.

In moments Drunada appeared. She was large, and inky black, with intense eyes.

“Come in, Ariana, do come in.” Her voice was thick and rich, and flowed through the water like summer-warmed water. Ari followed her, not certain of what exactly to ask for.

“You’ve been above, haven’t you my dear?” At Ari’s nod, she smiled. “And it tempts you, doesn’t it? Humans and boats and sand and sun? And I imagine, knowing you, gardens and birds and bees, too.”

How did the witch know so much about her already, Ari wondered.

Thick dark tentacles offered her delicacies.

“Why is it so dark here?” The question rose unbidden.

“My eyes, little one, see so much more than yours. The light hurts them, and impedes my true vision.  I’ve seen you, dancing at the castle on the edge of a cliff.”

Ari’s eyes widened, and her mouth opened to emit a beautiful “ooohh”.  Drunada smiled. “Your voice is as lovely as it ever was, girl.”

“I have these…” Ari thrust the packet of pearls towards the witch.

“What need have I for pearls? What I want Ariana is your voice. Sing for me, and I shall give you legs. You will have a month to try to capture the heart of your prince, for he is, indeed, a prince of the land above. But if you do not, you must return to the sea, or die. On the night of the full moon, 30 days hence, you must marry and kiss your love, or dive into the sea quickly. To do anything else, my dear, will end you.”

Her eyes widened, then shut briefly. Hope flared in her heart. He’d been so beautiful to look at, the prince. Whatever a prince was. She only knew that she had to do this, had to try.

“What shall I sing?”