A little piece of The Witch under Mountain this week.
Eagle walked along a pebbly beach north of the Valley, a little beach nobody ever walked on but him. He could sit on top of the rocks here and watch the ships coming in and going out, flying their bright banners, but today he walked. The high chop wet his bare feet; the wind played through his hair. Lightning licked the surface of the sea, far away, and he stopped to watch it and heard a voice ringing out over the beach, so beautiful and sad the hearing rent his heart.
Instead of staying to watch the storm, he walked on a little more. A wonderful thing sat on the rocks where he would watch the ships pass.
Mermaids were never like that. Only beautiful from a distance… but the long, thick fish tail gleamed white and iridescent in the sun that broke through the clouds. That clean white was mottled with dark browns and deep oranges. And he saw that it was also Fox, from above the waist, it was Fox, with the wet weed of his hair partly dry and rippling back in the wind, away from his beautiful beloved face. It was Fox, and he knew he was dreaming.
His dream of Fox sang the frog song, and he let it draw him forward. The words were lonely; the frog sang because it was alone. He let it pull him to the base of the rocks, and he listened. Of its own accord his hand went up to rest on Fox’s spectacular tail. It was lightly slimed, like a fish, and a little cool.
“Are you here to save me?” the dream of Fox said, suddenly looking down at him with the great tenderness Fox turned on him in reality.
“Yes,” he said, feeling the scales warm under his hand. “I am. Do you want me to? I’ll do anything you want.”
“I want you to, Eagle Eye,” Fox said.
Eagle climbed the rocks, sat close, and took one chilly hand in both of his. “Anything,” he said, giving it the weight of an oath.
“I want you to,” Fox said, looking out to sea again. “But you can’t.”