Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 1: Leviathan
I know it's a bit late, but I'd like to participate in Sku's MerMay Prompt List. Here's Day 1! This is not canon to "Little Selkie".
There were once seven Leviathans who roamed the earth. Natural disasters would follow them as they fought amongst each other. Then, one day, two of their own vanished. Shaken by their abrupt disappearances, the remaining Leviathans halted their war.
Centuries later, the remaining five have found a new way of life. With peace, they have realized that the way they had lived and fought was not only pointless, but also harmful to all of the other lives on earth. Their existences have become legends and myths in a quickly modernizing world and they find that they have no reason to change that. They remained hidden and out of sight. They simply wanted to live peaceful lives with their loved ones.
But then, something changed.
As if the even the scales that had long since been uneven, a new Leviathan has appeared. The other Leviathans felt their existence. At first, they originally decided to ignore the newcomer, but then they’re hearing news about the northern ice caps not melting despite warmer weather and about mortals are disappearing. Perturbed and worried, the five gather together and decide to meet the new Leviathan and set some ground rules for this upstart.
There are a lot of snowstorms in the Arctic, making it hard for many to see and thick ice. Dream’s Koi form paves a bath for the sea-bound mers, and they eventually get to the heart of the storm.
When the group reach the center, what they find is completely beyond what they expected: a giant, baby harp seal about the three times the size of a school bus. Instead of the full-grown behemoth the other expected, the new Leviathan is but a scared and bleeding, little (in their perspective) infant.
“But this doesn’t make sense,” Nightmare says, staring disbelievingly at the shivering, giant poofball in front of him, “a Leviathan can’t be a child. We all come into being fully grown.”
Alas, it is the case, no matter how impossible Nightmare and the others think it is.
It turns out the snowstorms and the chaos were simply a reaction from being attacked by landwalker mortals, not some Leviathan flexing their powers as many amongst them had feared. The group also discovered who happened to the missing mortals when the baby Leviathan burps out a snowshoe.
“They deserved it,” Geno decides, looking at all the bloody clubs and stray guns.
“We should still teach them that eating mortals are bad,” Blue frets as the baby Leviathan, now less wary and fearful of the newcomers, coos curiously at everyone. They’re especially enraptured by Ink, Error, and Dream’s colors.
The baby Leviathan is immensely grateful when Reaper plucks out the pesky bullets and heals them. They flop their head onto his outstretched hands and gives them a nuzzle.
“Oh no,” Reaper gasps quietly, “oh nooooooo.”
Reaper adopts them by the time he leaves the Arctic. Baby is supposed to stay in the territory? Too bad. Baby is too young to manage territory anyways. Is Geno still Mama in this AU? Don’t be silly, of course he is. Giant or tiny, baby is still baby.
(I call it the Little Leviathan AU)
- Mod Berry
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Guys, I wrote a thing. Have ~2,500 words of worldbuilding and feels. I’m thinking this is about a year or two after our glaive fam has settled in Insomnia.
@hamelin-born, @phoenixwithahoardoflibraries, @starofthemourning, @charlottedabookworm, @theperidotshade, @sparklecryptid, @luxroyalty
Nyx stretches out his shoulders as he walks, stifling a laugh. Tredd and Crowe are going at it behind him and Libertus looks like he’s three seconds away from grabbing them both by the scruff and shaking them like unruly puppies. Luche is studiously ignoring them no matter how many times Tredd tries to get his attention. Axis and Pelna are absorbed in a discussion about some magical theory that he couldn’t even begin to follow with Sonitus throwing in a word now and then. Luche catches his eyes and sees his smirk and rolls his eyes.
This night off will be good for them – training has been rough the past few days, getting them ready for an upcoming mission that’s a little bit outside their norm, and all of them could use a break. A night of drinking and good food is what they need.
But when Nyx steps into the bar, he sees someone that makes him freeze.
Luche, standing right behind him, is instantly on alert, catching the others’ attention. Nyx only has eyes for the woman sitting at a large table in the center of the room. He’s only met her a few times, but he would know her anywhere. She looks up from the beer bottle in her hands and smiles at him, beckoning him over.
Nyx goes, only vaguely aware of the others following after him. “Mother,” he greets, ignoring the sharp breath sucked in behind him.
“Storm child,” she greets in return, and her voice echoes – like rushing water, like a crashing wave – causing a hush to fall in the bar.
They are in the heart of the Galahdian district. Everyone knows the Mother even if they’ve never met her. Of his group, Nyx suspects he’s the only one who has. He remembers the day his grandmother introduced them, all gleeful laughter and bright smiles, as she teasingly called the woman that’s sitting before him his great grandmother. He knows her, recognizes her on sight, but the others know her just as well for all they’ve never met her.
“Sit with me for a while, little warriors,” Leviathan, Mother of the Seas, Thalassa, first of the Drowned, says to them.
Nyx easily slides into the chair next to her as the others’ pull up chairs of their own. He feels the eyes of everyone in the bar on them even as conversation picks up again.
“There is magic living under your skin that is not your own,” she says as she gestures at the bartender.
“We joined the Kingsglaive,” Nyx explains, “The King shared his magic with us.”
Leviathan hums and takes a sip of her beer as the bartender brings each of them their own bottle. “Yes. The Lucii have long been gifted in such ways. The magic is in their blood and always will be. Will you indulge me, little loves? Let a tired, old woman tell you a tale?”
“Of course,” Luche says, and Nyx wants to laugh at the light pink that dusts his cheeks when the Tidemother graces him with a smile but manages to refrain.
“The magic that now lives in your skin is old,” she says, “Older than even Solheim. It is from a time when Humanity was young and the Astrals were new. There was a pair of siblings, twins, a man and a woman, with wanderlust in their hearts and wind in their souls. They did the World Mothers a great service and were in turn blessed as thanks.”
“’Power is a gift of hope, of light, of love,’ the Dawn Mother told them, ‘Use it well.’ ‘Power is a curse of pride, of pain, of avarice,’ the Soul Keeper warned them, ‘Use it wisely.’ And they did. The siblings used their power to heal, to protect, to guide. They taught their children and their children’s children the same. ‘Use it well,’ they told their blood, ‘Use it wisely.’”
Leviathan looks at each of them intently and Nyx feels her gaze pressing down on him like a physical weight. “The World Mothers blessed the siblings’ line with their grace, right down to the blood. And blood is blood, no matter how thinly spread out over the generations, so the magic stayed and though time eventually turned the truth into little more than a story as it always does, the lessons remained.”
Here Leviathan stops, gaze going distant, fingers idly twirling the beer bottle in her hands. “There was a child born to this blessed line after the fall of Solheim,” she says softly, wistfully, “A child that grew into a man, a warrior, a healer. A King. He used his power well and he used his power wisely. He healed and protected; he was both the sword and the shield.”
And Nyx knows this story – they all do. The story of the First King, of the Sage, of the man who held the Starscourge at bay for so long that it turned his blood as black as the starless night sky and still he did not falter. The story of the Immortal Accursed, of the Fallen King, of the Nameless Wanderer.
The story of Leviathan’s Stolen Child.
“The sword-master deemed the power too much for one and, with the help of the killing cold, tore the power in two,” she continues, a rumble entering her voice as an old anger flashes across her eyes. But it’s gone as quick as it came, rearing its head and turning away just as fast, saved for those who deserve it. “Blood is blood, no matter how thinly spread over the generations,” she repeats, “The line of Kings you know today is descended from the brother from so long ago, while your Oracles descended from the sister. The power was split between the two lines – the Kings given the Soul Keeper’s blessing, the Oracles, the Dawn Mother’s.”
“But the price of power is steep and the price of power tampered is steeper still,” the Tidemother says solemnly, “The magic under your skin is not a toy, little warriors. It is not the poisoned dagger you thrust into your enemy’s heart in the name of vengeance. You swore an oath on the blessing of your maker, Etro, the Keeper of Souls, Guardian of the Dead, and were in turn granted the same grace that lives in the King’s veins. It is a great gift. And a terrible curse.”
“Use it well,” Leviathan tells them with all the gravity of a binding vow, “Use it wisely.”
Nyx feels the words settle into his bones and he doesn’t hesitate to promise, “Yes, Mother.”
The others echo him, only a second behind, and Leviathan smiles at them, proudly, fondly, a teasing light entering her eyes, cutting the solemn mood as she raps her knuckles against the table.
“Now then,” she says, “On to the real purpose of my visit.”
She waves a hand and Nyx follows the gesture to a table in the far corner. There are over a dozen people crowded around it, all with their hoods drawn up. They stand at Leviathan’s prompting and the two smallest figures dart forward with a shriek.
Nyx is vaguely aware of Axis making a strangled sound somewhere behind him as chaos erupts in the bar, but all he can focus on is the woman in front of him. She’s pulled down her hood, is looking up at him with a trembling smile, tears on her cheeks, bright gold in her eyes.
The same gold that shined in their grandmother’s eyes.
“Selena,” he breathes out, voice catching, and he’s reaching out with shaking hands because she was gone, his sister was gone, he saw the fire –
And then Selena is in his arms, clinging to him, choking out sobs into his shoulder.
“Selena, Selena, Selena, Selena,” he chants as he rocks them back and forth, pulling her into him and lifting her up with ease.
She wraps her legs around him and squeezes closer still. Nyx feels her head shift, her chin hook over his shoulder, one of her hands untangle from his shirt.
“Libs,” she chokes out – and oh gods, her voice, he’d started to forget what it sounded like – as she reaches for the man that was another brother to her growing up, “Libertus –”
And Libertus is there, wrapping himself around them both. Nyx can feel him trembling, can feel the hitch in his breath, but he’s there with them and –
“Crowe,” he rasps, “Get your ass in here. Selena, Libs adopted while you were away –”
Libertus releases a wet laugh into his hair.
“Shut up, hero,” Crowe says roughly and Nyx says nothing about how she sounds like she’s crying as she curls into his side.
His family all in one place in way he never thought they would be. He glances up, sees Leviathan still sitting at the table, beer in hand, watching them all with sad, fond eyes.
Thank you, Mother, he thinks.
She turns to him, catches his eyes, and smiles. It’s a small thing. Gentle. Soft. She toasts him with her bottle and tilts her head in acknowledgement and Nyx hears the sound of a crashing wave in his head followed a rumbling laugh.
He presses a smile into Selena’s hair and curls up in his family’s arms.
Axis’s world has narrowed down to the two small forms in his arms.
His niece and nephew, his older sister’s children, her twins, that he thought lost when Galahd burned. They’re warm and solid as they cling to him, breathing, alive.
“Mom’s gone,” Avis says quietly into his neck, fingers trembling under the force of her grip on his jacket.
Axis closes his eyes as that wound is ripped open anew, his heart aching as his eyes burn. “I know,” he says, somehow managing to keep his voice even, “I know.”
“There were bad men,” Atlas says, looking up at him, gold eyes far too old for his face. They used to be brown – the same brown as him, as his sister, their mother. “Bad metal men with red eyes and Mom said run and we did, but there was a river and it was fast and – ”
“Styx?” Axis cuts in to ask, because Atlas looks like he’s about to start hyperventilating if he doesn’t.
His nephew nods miserably. “Mom said to swim, but…”
Axis knows that river, remembers it. It was more rapids than anything, all white foam and rushing water. Children were warned away from it. It wasn’t swimmable and everyone knew it. Why would his sister run there?
“Mom said to swim,” his niece repeats, and Avis looks up at him with the same bright gold eyes as her brother, “But we couldn’t, and we told her and she said,” Avis’s breath hitches and her eyes glaze with tears, lips trembling, “She said Mother would save us. That we just had to ask and she would save us.”
“She pushed us in,” Atlas says quietly, “She pushed us in and then the bad men were there and –”
Axis can see it. His sister, desperate and afraid, MTs closing in on all sides. A rushing river at her back. And her children. Her children who were looking to her to save them. Her children who weren’t even ten yet, who were so young, who deserved to live far more than she. It’s an easy choice. Axis can see it.
He smooths his hand down his nephew’s back. “Your mom knew what she was doing,” he says, “You’re here right?”
Avis nods solemnly. “Mother found us. She taught us the sea and then said we could chose what we wanted.”
“We wanted Mom and Nanna and you,” Atlas says mournfully, “But Mother said she couldn’t give Mom and Nanna back.”
“She promised to find you though,” Avis says seriously, “She said if choosing you was what we wanted, she would find you.”
“We wanted you,” the twins say in unison.
Axis feels his eyes sting and doesn’t bother to try and hold back the tears this time. “Thank you,” he says around the burn building in his throat, pulling Atlas tight against his side as he presses his forehead against Avis’s. “Thank you for choosing me.”
Atlas sniffles wetly against is neck and Axis could care less about how gross it feels. “You’re our uncle,” he grumbles with all the belligerence of a small child even as he curls in as close as he can, “We love you.”
Avis frames his face with her small hands. “Thank you for being here to choose.”
Something in Axis settles for the first time since Galahd burned.
He can breathe.
Thalassa slips out of the bar quietly, unnoticed, as her children reunite with their loved ones. She takes a slow, steady breath, closes her eyes, and tips her head towards the sky. Sometimes she wished she didn’t remember. The yearning for her little brother is so strong, it’s a physical ache. She misses him far more than she ever thought she could, far more than she understood was possible. But she knows that if she didn’t remember, she would never bother. She would not have her children, would not have her new family.
It’s pain, yes, but a good, bittersweet kind. One that heals as much as it hurts.
She opens her eyes to look at the presence that’s appeared next to her. It’s a man with a staff longer than he is tall and a beard the same silvery-gray of stormy clouds.
“Thank you, sister,” Ramuh says quietly.
Thalassa smiles softly and slips her hand into the crook of the arm offered to her, shaking her head. “They are as much mine as they are yours,” she says, “It was not for you, but my own selfish reasons.”
“Yes,” Ramuh says dryly as they walk down the street, “Saving lives and reuniting loved ones without anyone prompting you. How very selfish.”
She laughs, grinning up at him. “Terribly selfish,” she confirms, leaning into her storm brother’s arm, “They same way all the best people are.”
Ramuh huffs at her but says nothing and they walk in silence for a while.
“Aegeus would have punched me first,” she says after a few blocks, longing and wistful, “Then he would have shouted and cried at the same time. Then he would have hugged me.”
“You miss him,” Ramuh states.
“Yes,” she replies, “Always.”
“I’m sorry,” her storm brother says, sadness in his eyes.
She shrugs because there is little anyone can do about it at this point. Even if she were not Leviathan, she still died. They still would have been separated. “Perhaps one day, when we are no longer needed and the Soul Keeper grants us our rest, I will see him again.” She nudges him with her elbow. “I could introduce you and you can tell him all of the crazy stories I never want anyone to know.”
Ramuh smiles at her and presses a kiss to her temple. “I would like that.”
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