Mermen & Magic, book 4
Can a merman and an Atlantean, separated by centuries and prejudices, find love together?
Merman Delwyn is an Oracle of the past. He loves nothing better than observing the comings and goings of those who lived centuries before he was born. His favorite time period to visit is when both Atlantean and mer inhabited the sunken city of Atlantis, and his guilty pleasure is watching lovers come together in passion. Secure in the knowledge that no one can see him when he’s viewing the past, nothing can prepare Delwyn for the moment Fabian, an Atlantean living in the past, speaks to him.
Fabian is a man with divided loyalties. The demi-god son of the Goddess of Sea Creatures has sworn to serve the Goddess of Prophecy as her Oracle of the present. His unique status gives him the power to see anything in the present, including the mysterious merman voyeur from the distant future.
Despite the centuries that separate them, Delwyn and Fabian find they have a lot in common and quickly form a friendship that both hope one day will become something more. But before they can be together in the present, Delwyn and Fabian must unravel the mysteries of the past.
Only time will tell if truth about the long-since vanished Atlanteans will bring them together or tear them apart, as the battle for the sunken city of Atlantis begins.
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Publisher: Pride Publishing
Delwyn brushed away the dirt from the wall mural as carefully as he could. Time and the ocean had taken their toll on the city of Atlantis and he didn’t want his actions to cause any more damage.
“What does it say?” Prince Finn asked.
Delwyn’s best friend was the only merman in the whole of the sunken city to show any interest in the Atlanteans who had once lived there alongside the mer. Delwyn delighted in regaling him with the stories written on the walls of the buildings.
“It’s a story about a great hero, who fought a three-headed monster to rescue a princess.” Delwyn pointed to the tall hero wielding a sword. “This is him.”
Finn leaned in closer. He hovered perhaps a little too near. Delwyn’s heart raced. Finn had been doing that a lot recently. Delwyn hadn’t yet figured out if it was intentional.
“He’s very handsome,” Finn commented. “Don’t you think so?”
“I hadn’t really thought about it.”READ MORE
Delwyn could tell Finn wasn’t happy with the answer, from the slight downturn of his lips. However, he quickly returned to his usual self and concentrated on studying the mural.
“How is it you can read the stories?” Finn asked, not for the first time. “Did someone teach you the Atlanteans’ language?”
Delwyn didn’t know how to answer Finn’s question. He hadn’t learned the language at all—he simply knew it. When he looked at the pictures and symbols on the walls he could tell what they meant. He always had. At first his mother thought he had made up the stories, but even she’d become convinced when Delwyn had repeated the same stories back to her, sometimes several years after he had first told them. He didn’t vary even the smallest of details.
“I don’t know. I can just read them.”
The mer didn’t have a written language of their own, which made Delwyn’s ability to read another even more unusual.
When he thought about it, it was as if he had the knowledge hidden somewhere deep within his mind, easily accessible whenever he needed it.
There were other things in his head, too, that he only saw when he closed his eyes to sleep at night. They were almost like memories, except they weren’t his. He had never spoken to anyone about them, not even Finn. He wondered whether to mention them now but decided against it. Finn sometimes teased him for his strange ways. The last thing Delwyn needed was to give him even more reason to do so.
Finn swam farther into the chamber. There was little illumination there, but the mer could see as well in the dark as the light.
Delwyn followed him, just as he always did. It was how it had been for as long as Delwyn could remember. Where Finn went, Delwyn followed.
They swam through the tunnels and chambers beneath the palace, exploring every nook and cranny of the vast building where once the kings and queens of Atlantis had lived.
Eventually they came to rest in an abandoned private temple which Delwyn told Finn belonged to Medina, the Atlantean Goddess of Love.
“Do you believe in love?” Finn asked.
“I guess.” Delwyn gazed at the stone features of the woman who the Atlanteans had once prayed to. “Do you?”
Finn smiled and nodded. “Yes.”
“You sound pretty sure about that.”
“I know it’s real because I’ve fallen in love with someone.”
Delwyn’s own smile froze. Finn was in love? How had he failed to notice this? Who was the mermaid the young prince had given his heart to?
Finn continued to watch him, quietly waiting for him to say something but Delwyn couldn’t seem to find the words.
His stomach cramped and his eyes stung. He wanted to ask Finn so many questions, yet he couldn’t summon a single word.
“Are you angry with me?” Finn finally asked, his voice barely a whisper in Delwyn’s mind.
Delwyn found his words. “No, of course not. Where would you get that idea?”
“Because you’ve not asked me who I’m in love with.”
Delwyn forced a smile back onto his face. “Tell me then. Or do you want me to guess?”
“You’ll never figure it out.”
Finn didn’t even wait for Delwyn to try. Before he could even bring to mind a single mermaid he had seen keeping company with Finn, he knew. How could he not, when Finn pressed his lips hesitantly against his own?
Delwyn sighed into the kiss, opening his mouth and letting Finn’s tongue enter.
“It’s you.” Finn wrapped Delwyn into a close embrace. “My best friend, and now, my love.”
Delwyn shivered as Finn lowered his hands to stroke his fins. An unfamiliar feeling washed over Delwyn and he wanted—needed—to go to land with the merman in his arms. “The mating season isn’t for another two months. Do you think your parents will let you come to the island with me before then?”
“I’ll just give my guards the slip. They won’t be able to stop me.”
Finn had long since become an expert when it came to hiding from the mermen assigned to protect him. Calder, the gruff leader of the guards, often spoke of his despair at ever finding someone who could keep up with Finn.
Unfortunately, Prince Finn had the most protective parents in the city. The king and queen would not allow their precious son to pass the city boundaries for any reason.
Delwyn loved going to the island. Although he had never visited during the mating season, he knew the time would come soon. He was a young man now, or near enough.
He and Finn would go there together. They would learn each other’s bodies on the sandy beach and when the mating season arrived they would break their first fevers together.
Their kisses grew more passionate. They stroked each other, entwining their fins as they rolled around on the stone floor.
“We could go to the island right now,” Finn suggested. “No one would miss us until nightfall.”
Finn pulled out of the kiss and Delwyn opened his eyes, or at least he thought he did. Now that he came to think about it, he didn’t remember closing them.
Except he must have, and they were still closed, because he couldn’t see a thing.
“Delwyn, what’s wrong?” Finn asked.
“I can’t see,” Delwyn replied. He tried, without much success, to keep his voice calm.
“But you were fine before.”
“I know. I saw you lean in to kiss me, but now I can’t see anything. I don’t know what happened.”
“You’re not just saying this to avoid going to the island with me, are you?”
“No, I want to go with you. I swear it.”
“Maybe I should take you home,” Finn suggested. “What if you’re unwell?”
“Delwyn is not ill,” a female explained.
Delwyn didn’t recognize her voice.
“Who are you?” Finn asked. “What are you? How are you alive under the ocean?”
“I’m a goddess.”
“Do you know what’s the matter with Delwyn?”
“There is nothing wrong with him. He has now become what he was always meant to be.”
“Who are you?” Delwyn asked.
“My name is Cari, and I’m the Atlantean Goddess of Prophecy. And you are now one of my Oracles.”
“What? I can’t be. There are only ever three Oracles and they were all alive and well at the palace dinner last evening.”
“They were,” Cari agreed. “However, my Oracle of the past left this world a short while ago. His passing means a new Oracle must be appointed and the honor falls to you.”
“But I don’t want to be an Oracle,” Delwyn argued.
“It is too late. It is what you are, what you were always meant to be. This is your destiny. Come with me. Let me escort you to Ula and Kai. They’re waiting for you.”
Delwyn felt a hand take one of his and squeeze it. It wasn’t Finn’s hand—he knew the touch of his friend’s hand. He let the goddess lead him from the temple to his new home.
He thought Finn swam with them, but when he tried to speak to him, the reply came from a distance. Finn had clearly remained in the temple of the Goddess of Love.
“I’ll fix this,” Finn called. “We’ll be together. I promise.”
“Do you have a plan?”
Finn’s reply sounded firm and sure. “The Goddess of Prophecy has taken you from me, so I’m going to ask the Goddess of Love to bring you back. I love you, Delwyn.”
While Delwyn didn’t know whether the Goddess of Love could help, he supposed it wouldn’t hurt to try. He didn’t want to be an Oracle. He didn’t want to be blind. He wanted Finn.COLLAPSE