The Myth of the Merrow

“What are you doing?!” Marcail shouted, as the men around her tied her legs together. She tried kicking them, bucking her hips, anything to stop them but they over powered her.

“Now listen lassie,” the captain of the ship started. His thick Scottish brogue dripping with false sympathy, “I understand this is scary, but yer just bringin’ us more bad luck. We’ve had nothin’ but storms since we found ye stowed aboard.”

The woman stared at the captain in shock, temporarily forgetting the position she was in, which allowed the two sailors to finish tying her legs together, and another two other sailors to finish binding her arms to her sides.

“NO!” she screamed, the wind whipping her long red, curly hair around her head, her voice echoing around her. Strands of her curly hair were caught in the rope around her body, but she couldn’t feel the stinging in her scalp over the fear pulsing through her body, making the sound of her heart beat threaten to deafen her.

“Lassie, it’s bad luck to be bringin’ such a fine woman as yerself on a ship, ye know that. I’m sorry lassie, but this has to be done.”

With that, she was picked up and thrown overboard. She had just wanted to get out of Scotland, and now she was bound like a lamb going to slaughter and thrown over the side of the ship. She had secretly climbed aboard the ship in the middle of the night, when she knew the sailors were out drinking before cast off. She had overheard the sailors talking in the market place the day before, talking about how they were sailing to the Ireland to trade, and she wanted to see what it was like. Marcail’s parents would never let her leave their tiny village, let alone go to Ireland.

She tried to hold her breath as she hit the water, but she knew she wasn’t going to be able to survive this. She tried to twist, trying to loosen the knots made to make sure she sank to the bottom of the ocean, but it just made the knots tighter. The sailors were arses, but they could tie a knot. She could feel her lungs starting to burn as the lack of oxygen made the edges of her vision go black. If she could cry, she would.

The further she sank, and with the heavy dress she was wearing she was sinking fast, the pressure of the deep water pressed on her chest. Just as she was resigned to dying she saw something green swim past her, and then something swim the other way. She tried to turn her head and follow it, but she was too tired, and her lungs were starting to ache. Then three green women were in her eye sight. Their skins were only light, pale green, but their hair looked like the color of algae. It flowed out around them, as they floated in front of her. Their eyes were all the same blue of the ocean. Their upper bodies looked like a woman, but she could see their bottom halves had scales like a fish and they had fins.

Merrow, she thought. She had heard the stories of merrows all her life, of the evil sprites that lived in the ocean, seducing the sailors and dragging them into the ocean, where they stole their souls and kept them at the bottom of the ocean.

Suddenly, the ropes that bound her arms were undone, and a slightly webbed hand was reaching out to her. She touched the hand and watched as her skin went from pale and freckled to light green. She opened her mouth and could suddenly breathe in the water. Her dress fell off of her body slowly floating away from her, and the ropes that once bound her legs disappeared and her legs started to mesh together with scales. She looked around and her hair, starting from the ends and going to the roots, stayed curly but changed to dark green.

“Skye,” a musical voice said. She turned back to the merrow, and saw she was pointing at herself.

“Marcail,” she said, pointing to herself.

Skye smiled and swam up, and Marcail followed her. When they reached the break in the ocean, Marcail looked out and saw the ship she was just tossed off of. Skye started singing and Marcail joined. When the sailors looked over the side of the ship, the captain barked at them to stop looking. Marcail and Skye sang louder. The men couldn’t resist looking at the merrows, and for the first time in her life, Marcail felt powerful.

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