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A Hundred Lifetimes
There is an old tale buried beneath timeless scrolls, hidden under layers of dust that have the power to send children cowering in their mother’s arms, and men vaulting to their bloody deaths in vain.
They say that if you eat a mermaid’s flesh, you are granted immortality. The promise of eternity is laid gently on shifting tides, of olden lore and shards of glass which mortals find through Chrono’s watchful eyes. But man is only made to repeat mistakes and damn his life with greed and wealth. The scornful gods dangle such shallow promises only a breath away. The ghost of death stands by solemnly as mortal fools turn on their fellow man with upturned faces and daggers hidden behind their backs.
He raised one hand to block out the sun as he carried this knowledge like an invisible burden; the blisters eating away at his feet only serve as a painful reminder that he is still alive.
The land was still sleeping when he set off to prove his worth; his steps were still light and sure as the cobblestone road dissolving in the background. But alas, two fortnights have already passed since that time.
The sun has set and rose many nights and the sound of his hope is now the seagulls’ cry. He was trapped under the false pretense of an innocent blue sky becoming one with an infinite sea, half sick of shadows cast by his starving mind. The failed hero stands at the edge of something much too great and prepares to take his final plunge into the icy waters that have mocked him with silence, but a soft murmur reels in his resolve just in time.
His feet stilled on the sheer drop. Twisting his head, his eyes take in the mouth of a small cave that was not there before. There is only the unrelenting clicking noise in the back of his head guiding him; the fog shrouding common sense grows thicker as scales as black as tar come into plain view.
The creature appeared human from the waist down. Glowing skin carved from ivory appears silver and cold to the touch, and a smile aligned with rows of sharp teeth grows wider as he slowly bends to the figure half submerged in shallow pools. Livid Obsidian pools burn him slowly with flames of hatred.
“I have waited for your return,” A gravely familiar voice invokes fear in his heart. The fragile looking creature fans out her tail to align it beneath her, as the whisper of a fin flicker drops of water in his direction.
The siren’s wail nearly sends him fumbling for his scarab, but he hesitates as the icy bite of the wind causes his lungs to shrivel.
"W-what are you?" His voice sounded rough, and unused to his own ears. His heart stuttering badly with each shortened breathe.
“Come now mortal; is it not this flesh which your kin has sought?” His feet moved on its own accord as he inched slowly away from his fate, but it suddenly struck him; he remembered these very same lines in his dreams, predatory eyes watching his very move like a snake waiting to sink its fangs into cowering prey.
It was happening all over again. His mind disconnects from his body as he raises his sword with killing intent, drawn in by the urge to rise above mankind. His gut clenching painfully in anticipation, stomach growling, a battle cry rips from his throat.
There was the solid sound of steel slicing through soft flesh and the siren lashed out with blackened talons, baring her fangs as her life seeped out in clouds of red.
He hacked at her tail, his steps flattering when her angry shrieks proved too powerful. The hunger was momentarily forgotten as he listened to his baser instincts driving him to kill.
The sirens cry was cut short when a gleaming blade plunged into her throat. His harsh breathing was the only sound echoing of the dank cavern walls, and he quickly cast his sword to the ground advancing on his kill.
Raw flesh slithered down his throat as he shoveled handful after handful into his mouth until his stomach protested the abuse.
He slowly emerged from the cave feeling strangely empty, eternity set in his eyes. With his shoulders hunched, he waited for the tides to come and wash the blood from his quaking hands.
But the sky would soon rip open by the god’s intents, and he would be thrown at the seas mercy. He only had a small glimpse of his wretched fate; the siren’s smiling face above him as he was dragged underneath the currents once more by an unseen force.