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Deep down on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea, a beautiful mermaid lay on a bed of damp sand fully covered by a quilt of seaweed. The sea god Atlantis stood by her side gazing at her with loving eyes.
“Where is she?” he asked.
The mermaid seemed to struggle to catch her breath but at last she replied, “The baby… it lives…take her and… love her… just as you have… loved me….”
“I will,” Atlantis said, but as he did so the mermaids’ heart beat its last syllable, and she lay still.
“No my dear wife, don’t leave me like this, not now,” the god begged as he kneeled down and took her limp hand into his own while caressing her pale cheek. Atlantis’s throat tightened as he tried to swallow and his heart felt as if it would burst, but his eyes remained dry, for as a god, he could not cry for a mortal.
A human sounding grunt was heard behind the god, and when he tuned, he beheld his wife’s most cherished servant holding a small bundle.
“She’s gone,” Atlantis choked out. The mermaid servant nodded.
“But she’s not,” the servant said holding out the small bundle in trembling hands. Taking the bundle, Atlantis gazed into the face of his baby daughter.
“What are you going to name her?” The servant asked shyly.
“She is to be called Aquatine, after the name of her mother Aquatian. She shall be a goddess and live an immortal life, never to die. And she will love the sea and do all she can for it, just like her mother did before her.”
Atlantis glanced back to his deceased wife only to realize she had not long before turn into the sea foam, leaving only one symbol of her existence behind; her Pearl necklace with a single charm in the shape of a star.
Seventeen years later…
“Come on Pony Boy. Let’s show them how good we are,” Aquatine giggled as she and her friend raced along the sea floor on their seahorses.
“Pony Boy, wow Aqua, nicknaming your horse,”
“Like you don’t,” Aquatine shot back.
“Not something like Pony Boy. Mine’s more romantic. It’s Black Beauty. I heard those humans’ uses that name a lot to name their horses.”
“Okay Turquoise, and Black, I love you all but you’re about to eat our sand.” Aquatine giggled again as she surged ahead, beating her friend at the race by a whole couple of feet.
“Uh oh, here come your dads’ soldiers. Have I ever told you that they scare me? They always look so… dark,” Turquoise said as she pushed her sea blown raven hair out of her face.
“Always, even though you have to admit, the one in the middle is pretty handsome,” Aquatine said rolling her eyes playfully.
“Yeah, right,” Turquoise said covering her mouth to giggle.
The young soldier in the middle of the three came forward and bowed to his waist at Aquatine and nodded once to her friend.
“Aquatine, your father has requested that you come speak with him. Come with us if you are obliged,” he said glancing over at Turquoise.
“Fine, I’m coming, but I want to swim so take my horse.” Aquatine handed her horse to the first and the largest guard then glanced back to her friend who wore the disappointed but knowing look.
“Later?” Aquatine asked.
“Yeah, I guess.”
Then the young girl transformed into a mermaid and swam away with the soldiers traveling at a step behind Aquatine.
At the sight of her dear father, Aquatine transformed back into her human form and ran to embrace him. Planting a kiss on her forehead, Atlantis took Aquatine by her hand.
“Come with me child, I have something to show you,” he said. Atlantis led his daughter out into the wide sea. As they walked, they passed many sea creatures and each time he asked her what it was. It went something like this:
“Do you know what this is Aqua?”
“It’s grass,” she replied.
“No child, its seaweed. Humans have a form of it also. They call it a weed.”
A little later on they came to a fish. “Do you know what this is?”
Aquatine giggled. “It’s a jester fish. You often call them to the palace for celebrations.”
“The actual name my dear is a clownfish,” Atlantis said as he patted the fish gently on the nose. Then beckoning to his daughter once more, he said, “Come my child.”
This went on for a while until the two came upon a small drab tomb. Atlantis took his daughter by the hand again and pulled her after him inside.
“And this, my daughter is where you were born.”
Uncertainty flicked across Aquatine’s face as she glanced around the bare room.
“I don’t understand,” she finally whispered.
The sea god sat down upon the lifeless sand and patted beside him for his daughter to also sit.
“The reason why I showed you those animals and plants on our way here is because…your mother created them. She was the only mortal to ever have the gift to create anything out of nothing. That’s what we called her while she was living; ‘The Creator.’
Those seahorses that you love to ride all the time, your mother created them from the horses the humans have. The seaweed, the clownfish, the jellyfish, the sand dollars, the angelfish, the eels…your mother made all of it. And before she died, she made you. She sacrificed many things in her life to create the wonders of this sea world including her life. But she left one thing with us so we would remember.”
The sea god produced the small necklace out of his robe and tied it around his daughters’ neck.
“This is the pearl necklace she left behind. I thought to give it to you when you became of age along with the information about it. The charm is supposed to symbolize something but I don’t know what. Maybe it was meant for you to find out.”
Aquatine glanced down and stroked the charm thoughtfully.
“My mother… what did she look like?”
The sea god chuckled. “Just like you.”
He reached up and gave one of Aquatine’s curls a gentle tug then released it. “She had curls of the reddest earthly rose, eyes that went as deep as the ocean and just as beautiful in color. And her skin tone as fair as the fairest grain of sand, and you my dear, look exactly the same.”
“But I don’t understand. What does this mean?” Aquatine asked Turquoise. The two girls lay in the sand in the small cave her father had shown her only a few hours before admiring the charm on the necklace.
“Maybe this is something your mother wanted you to create,” Turquoise suggested running her index finger on the warm glass of the charm.
“I know. I just don’t understand how, I mean what would it be that she’d want me to create?”
Turquoise stood and paced the small room in thought. “The stars are in the sky at night right? And the sky is like the opposite of the sea; therefore stars are like the fish of the night sky so we’d name the creation starfish.”
“And then we’d have a little of the sky in the sea…” Aquatine nodded in agreement. “How do you suppose we get the stars?”
Turquoise stopped pacing and abruptly turned to face Aquatine. “There’s only one way, and that’s to ask the sky god Atmos to share.”
“But that’s impossible! One, I live in the sea. I’d never be able to reach the sky palace and two, it’s known that the sky god never shares anything bet what you see up there anyway.”
“I know, but your mother was able to do all this and she was a mere mortal that was created by your father into a mermaid so that she could be the mother to the sea. The most you could do is finish what she had started,” Turquoise lectured.
Aquatine stared intently into her friends’ dark violet eyes and sighed. Standing, she clasped the necklace back around her neck.
“Fine, I’ll do it. I’m sure my father would agree,” she said.
And that he did.
Two days after…
After bidding farewell to her father and her friend Turquoise, Aquatine rose above the surface of the sea and made her way to the Mount of Olympus were it was known that all gods and goddess’ dwell. Though it is only a rumor among the Greek mortals, the mountain was high enough to reach the palace of the sky god.
The journey lasted ten days but the weather remained peaceful as if the gods knew she was coming. After two hours of climbing, Aquatine stood atop Mount Olympus.
“Atmos, god of the sky, come out and here me. I need to speak to you,” Aquatine shouted looking up into the vast colorless sky at the drab gray clouds. A stroke of lightning flashed before her eyes as a man with the air of energy and youth descended upon the mountain by a chariot of clouds. As a token of gratitude, Aquatine sank to her knees and kissed the ground at the gods’ feet.
“My dear goddess Aquatine; no need to tell me, I have heard of your wish to take the stars of my night sky and place them into your waters.”
“Yes my god. It was my mothers wish before her death. I am here to fulfill it,” Aquatine said rising to her feet.
“Ah… I’ve heard of her; the mortal creator yes?” Atmos asked, his large brown eyes twinkling. “Tell me why I should grant your wish? Being a creator myself, I had no compassion for your mother. She stole ideas from others while I had to create my own.”
Aquatine remained silent. She would get what she came for no matter what this god said about her mother. Sensing this, Atmos came up with another plan.
“You know, I’ve always liked a good bargain. How about you offer me something and in return, I give you what you came for.” Atmos took a step closer to Aquatine and took one of her loose curls in his hand. Knowing what Atmos was possibly thinking, Aquatine jerked her curl back with a flick of her head and locked eyes with the god. Clenching her teeth together, she nodded.
“I’ll think on it,” she replied.
Atmos stepped back into his chariot and laughed.
“When ever you come to your decision, I’ll be waiting”
As he rose back into the sky, Aquatine sat down atop the mountain and removed the necklace from her neck with trembling fingers. As she studied the necklace she tried to come up with an idea of how to get the stars without giving in to what Atmos wanted, but nothing came to her. Finally as night began to appear and the first star twinkled, Aquatine came up with a scheme.
Tying her deceased mothers’ necklace back around her throat, Aquatine awaited midnight. Soon, the last star appeared in the sky….
Once all the stars were clustered together in the coal black sky, Aquatine stood as straight as she could and reached for one. Seeing that the closest star was but a breath away, Aquatine stood on her tip toes and reached higher. Just as her fingers grazed the bottom points of the star, Aquatine lost her balance and found herself tumbling off the tip of the mountain.
Suddenly a dark cloud appeared and Aquatine found she was sprawled on top of it as it rose higher and higher into the sky. Soon she found herself in the throne room of Atmos’ palace in the clouds.
Glancing up from behind her disheveled hair, Aquatine beheld Atmos, sitting upon his throne with a scowl upon his face.
“What did you think you were doing? To steal from a god is a terrible offense; goddess or not. I should have left you to your fate…. I asked you a question, what were you thinking?”
Aquatine continued to stare up at Atmos but would not speak.
“You are a proud one aren’t you? I should have you punished for your attempt to steal from me, no, that wouldn’t teach you. You’re too much like your mother,” Atmos seethed.
“I have found out what I want to offer you in return for your stars,” Aquatine interrupted.
“And what do you suppose that is,” Atmos snapped. Aquatine rose from the cloud floor and slowly walked up the stairs to the foot of Atmos’ throne. Once there, Aquatine knelt at his feet and with a calm temperament replied.
“I offer you my hand in marriage. I shall stand at your right at all times and be your queen. “
“Yes, just so you could steal from me in a wider range… what’s mine shall be yours correct?” Atmos mocked, but Aquatine saw as his eyes softened as he lifted her chin so she may look into his face and he smiled. “But so be it, my goddess.”
And as he said it, it became so.
One Month Later…
For a month after, Aquatine dwelled at the palace in the sky. She dined on the best of the honey dew and dressed in only the softest of the different textures of the rainbow, but never once had she heard of the god sending the stars down to the sea. One day Aquatine decided to ask her husband about this. On her way to the throne room, Aquatine felt a pang of fear. Remembering how she was about to steal the stars in the beginning, caused her to fret the answer that the god would give to her.
Day after day, this scene replayed as Aquatine became more curious if Atmos sent the stars to the sea. Soon after, Aquatine became home sick for the sea. She began to miss the many colors of the deep waters; the sapphire blues that surrounded the life, the pink of the jelly fish, the tangerine color of the clown fish, and the different shades of tan on the sea floor. Without really noticing at first, Aquatine realized that the sky was always drab and gray. Even her husband Atmos, who seemed to have lively color on earth, became a pale sickly color in the sky. That’s when Aquatine came up with a plan to see if Atmos had kept his promise.
“My dearest Atmos, god of all skies,” Aquatine began the next morning as she knelt at her husbands feet. “I’ve come to ask a great favor of you.”
Atmos lifted Aquatine’s head and placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’d do anything for you my love. What is your wish?” he asked.
Taking a deep breath and bowing her head, Aquatine continued. “I have become dreadfully homesick. Nor have I seen my father or my friends since the day I first went to the mountain and I’ve grown to miss them. My wish is that you allow me to return to them for the time being.” Glancing up, Aquatine watched as pain crossed Atmos’ face and her heart immediately went out for him.
“I have noticed this,” Atmos said slowly, forcing a smile upon his pale features. “I’ve seen my queens’ youth turn into that of an old woman, so I shall grant you your wish; but if you leave me now, you won’t be able to return.”
Aquatine nodded her head. “I have known this, but as a reminder of me, I have decided to give you some thing in return. I will present to you a piece of my blue from the sea as long as you let me go back to my family.”
“So be it and goodbye my only love.” Atmos stood, pulling Aquatine up with him and embraced his wife.
“Goodbye my god,” Aquatine whispered into his ear. On releasing him, Aquatine stepped back onto a cloud and descended back into the Mediterranean Sea. Her Father and dear friend Turquoise lovingly welcomed her back and listened to her tale of what happened with open ears; though one thing that she did not see upon her return were the stars from the night sky.
“Let you don’t forget,” her father once chided her. “A promise said shall be a promise kept.”
On remembering this, Aquatine found one of her deceased mothers’ old glass jars and filled it to the brim with all the pigments of blue she could find. Closing the glass tight, Aquatine threw it with all her might into the clouds.
Upon receiving the jar, Atmos let it open into the gray sky and watched as it transformed into a beautiful blue atmosphere. Atmos chuckled to himself.
“A promise made is a promise kept,” he whispered to himself. That night, as the stars began to fill the sky, Atmos threw a couple across the sky and into the waters below. Not only did he send them to the Mediterranean, but also to every sea and Ocean he could see. Atmos’ heart swelled in happiness when he beheld his wife rise out of the water as a mermaid and wave a star transformed into starfish into the air before ducking back under. Then, sighing to himself, Atmos said; “Though she wasn’t just like her mother, I’d say in many ways, she is still a creator. She made the morning sky blue and she made the waters have stars, but she did it without having to sacrifice a thing.”
But little did he know; Aquatine also created tears. The small rivers of sea water that leaked from both of their eyes at that same very moment.