Postcard-sized print of the Mangrove Dryad/mermaid by haikujaguar.
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A set of necklaces by niftybabe313, for the dryad/mermaid before and after.
Approximate length of the blue/aqua/clear necklace is 18 inches
Approximate length of the green/gold/copper necklace is 20 inches
Both are made of glass seed beads on .5 mm "Stretch Magic" cord, no clasps. Wear together or separately!
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A mermaid, form only coyly cloaked by green-streaked pale-brown hair that flows around her, drifting in the shimmering water. Her tail is not the traditional smooth green-scaled muscle, but seems ragged - tendrils of deep brown rather than scales. Her arms are at her sides, palms open and facing out; her eyes are closed.
All my life I had dreamed of the sea - when I was but a sapling, I yearned for it, pushed my roots seaward, strained my branches. But dryads cannot become nereids. Not just by wishing. Not even we mangrove nymphs, with our roots in the ocean and our proud salt-rimed leaves. I learned, I grew, I sorrowed. I tried to content myself with the things that washed up from the sea and tangled in the cage of my roots - kelp and bladderwrack, crabs and mollusks. I tried to content myself with watching the fish dart through my roots, shimmering and sleek and fast and free. And I despaired of ever being free. Oh, to be a mangrove nymph is to be of both worlds and neither; oh, how I wished I had been born an ash or yew, oak or maple, and not to suffer these longings!
And then the storm.
A night of darkness and fear and exultation, of branches thrashing, of waves pounding! I prayed for the waves to crack me, pull me out to sea. I prayed to find a way...
My prayers were answered that night.
He slammed into my root-cage and held fast, steeling himself against the storm; he pulled himself inside to safety to wait it out, sleek tail flashing. Chest broad and human, tail sleek and scaled, eyes the shade of my leaves beneath the salt.
For seven days he stayed. He stroked my roots, my trunk; he sang for me, tales of his people, tales of the deep and open sea. He licked the salt from my leaves.
He told me of the witch. The selfsame witch who made legs for a mermaid could make a tail for me. I would shed my bark for shimmering iridescent scales. I would shed my salt-rimed leaves for flowing hair. I would shed my roots for the freedom of the sea.
And I cared not what price she would demand of me. It must be given. For I had dreamed of that wild open sea all my life; it had called me, and I must go. I must.
When the witch came, I submitted willingly, and I was transformed. The only price the witch asked of me? The language of the trees. I considered it no loss at the time - my language stripped from my throat, but followed by the language of the sea, cool and blue and soothing.
I am deeply ashamed to say that I did not even look back at my tree. The moment I was free, I dove, I swam, I fled.
For seven days, all was well. My lover and I explored the sea together, playful and sweet, and it was everything I'd dreamed of.
On the seventh day, we swam to a boat. My prince kissed me, eyes sorrowful - and surrendered me. He'd owed the Ringmaster a mermaid, you see, and was honor-bound to protect his own people; he saw my yearning for the sea, singing to the waves, and he contrived to seduce me. It had not taken much. I was eager to swim, to dive - and glad to sacrifice leaf and root for it.
I was seized, hauled aboard, sputtering and gasping and screaming in the rough hempen net, air chasing water from my lungs. The Ringmaster locked the collar on my throat with a practiced hand, and his men threw me into an enormous tank, thick glass walls that I pounded on all the way back to shore, screaming for my faithless lover, screaming for the sea... and for my sisters, who could no longer hear me. I screamed all the way to the carnival, salt in my throat, and I screamed as he displayed me night after night, screamed and sobbed - and he told them that I was singing.
The truck that carries my tank has windows, and I can see the trees in the distance as we speed by, watch the leaves rustle as they speak to each other.
But I no longer know their language, and cannot plead for rescue.
It was never for love of him. It was for love of the sea.
SPONSOR ME! Still at $1,107.24.
The mangrove dryad has had more art created for her than any other character - painting, yarn, jewelry, knitted things. So much. She is loved.
She originated in the original November '07 round of Wind Tunnel Dreams (inspired by the prompt "sea-dreams" from solcita), and found a home in "Fortune", the first long-form WTD; this is a chimera, a blending of those two appearances. You'll see her once more later, in the epilogue to fortune. Two posts from now. :)
After all of my fretting about auction-item-wrangling, we ended up with more than 49 items - fortunately, they're grouping very naturally. There'll be a few more posts that have two items per storybit, but most will have one item per.
mgrasso: "I'm looking, like, right into Frank's anus." "Frank has the word "accoutrements" on his ass. It's like a clue. Like Rosebud."
Kat: "Hey, Mike, guess what?"
Kat: "We're on a boat!"
Mike: "Oh. I thought you were going to say 'chicken butt'. That would have been apt for a change. It would've been OT. Or is OT "off-topic?"
Me: "It's off-topic. Hm. OnT?"
Mike: "That's Ontario."
Emily: "It's OP. Original Post. Hot & spicy Texas style."
Next time you see mgrasso, ask him to tell you the Drinky Bird story. Insist upon it.