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 From the Depths (Canon ICC)

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PostSubject: From the Depths (Canon ICC)   Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:47 am

((This thread takes place fourteen years ago - first in the Arctic, then later at a human naval base further south.))

Alistair Harrington let out a roar of defiant effort as he slammed his hands onto the power terminals of the barrier projector, and the already charred and half-wrecked machine flared to life - the jury-rigged components Alistair had slapped together holding up as he charged the device with his own power. The tremendous fireball the elven ship had thrown at the human battlecruiser abruptly detonated, flames skipping off an invisible wall some twenty feet away from the ship's skin, embers and clinging, napalm-like magefyre splashing away and onto the nearby ice. The ice cracked, shattered, and let out a terrible hiss as the magic flames scalded it, but Alistair's hasty repairs had saved the ship for the moment, and a general cheer went up as he sank to a seat against one of the armored walls, grinning weakly. Barely eighteen years old, he was one of the kids on the ship, and the crew had sort of taken him in - the momentary surge of pride was heady. It was also fleeting as another cry - this one of warning - went up as the boat shuddered with another impact. The elven ropes came over the sides only a moment later, clinging like quick-growing vines, and the ship's crews broke into action again, grabbing weapons and calling for backup. Overhead the ship's massive cannons spoke again, shattering a more distant elven vessel, but in this close they could do nothing for the beleaguered crew. Alistair pulled the pistol from the holster on his belt, holding it in one hand as he lifted his tool kit with the other, and made ready for battle. He had been serving on the crew of the Agincourt for almost eight months, but this was the first time the elves had made it on the ship. From the reports, when that happened, things rarely went well...

Nerissa Ilirran was floating, drifting in the endless black that had consumed her. It was all she knew, all she'd ever known, or so she thought. From off in the distance there came rather loud and jarring sounds, but they were far away and she didn't even know if they were a dream..what was a dream anyway? The thought escaped her as the black took her back down, drowning her in it's cold and lifeless grip. Then something changed, heat engulfed her, the sound of ice cracking nearly pulled her apart with it's loudness. She opened her eyes for the first time, the waters of the oceans pouring into her magic ice coffin and warming her from the outside in. It took a few minutes for her body to regain all of it's functions, the movements in her fingers and tail. Then she started bashing at her prison, breaking herself free the rest of the way until she fell out into the cold ocean waters. Ice lay everywhere, but she didn't understand what was happening. There was so much sound, so many vibrations through the water, and foreign debris falling everywhere. Instinct told her to stay away, to flee, but her curiosity got the better of her and she ascended to the surface.

Alistair Harrington ducked just behind one of the crates on deck as an Elvish arrow slammed into it, then he came back around, returning fire with his pistol. He didn't have time to see if he hit anything or not as another warrior appeared at his side, its green eyes harsh and cold as it swung its blade for his neck. Alistair's eyes widened slightly, the world around him seeming to slow as his power kicked in, and he hurled his toolkit at the elf's chest in a near panic. The heavy tools crashed into the warrior, driving him back and throwing off his aim, but he snarled and moved in again. Getting back a bit of his composure, the young soldier just barely avoided another slash, reaching out and slapping his hand against the man's arm. The elf let out a cry of surprise and pain as electricity shot through his arm, his fingers went numb, and his sword dropped to the deck. Desperate to capitalize on the advantage, Alistair drove his fist into the elf's jaw, then grabbed him by the shoulders and drove his knee into his gut, doubling the soldier over in pain. The struggle went on for a few moments, the green young engineer giving as good as he got, and finally he got hold of the elf by his overlong hair, jerking him back and then slamming his head into the railing on the ship's side. Almost that very second another appeared, and Alistair gasped, but he realized something else - the cannons had finished moving. Abruptly he dropped down, covering his ears - the confused elf did not. The cannons had positioned themselves almost directly over their heads, and the noise was nearly enough to take them off their feet - the unprepared Elf staggered, and Alistair shoved him hard over the side. That was two! In his first fight! Before he could really finish the thought though, the first man pushed himself up, a rope in his hands that he tied with impossible speed around Alistair's legs. The other had already been attached to the heavy toolbox, which the elf hurled over the side before giving the young human a sharp push over the side. Alistair gasped, trying desperately to catch the rail, but it was inches beyond his grasp, and the dark, icy water rose up to meet him. The impact was sudden, and at first the shocking cold was something he could barely feel... but with the box dragging him down, away from the light of the surface... This can't be happening...

Nerissa Ilirran was almost to the surface when something plunged into the ocean just above her head. In shock she darted to the side out of it's way, her powerful tail propelling her effortlessly though the water. She followed the object down a bit, swimming around it as she inspected the odd shaped box. There was something attached to the box and she reached out with on talon to touch the rope, it grated roughly against the scales of her fingertip. Tilting her head up, she followed the rope, wanting to see if there was something on the other end. What met her gaze had her eyes widening in shock. With a flip of her tail she sped upwards, swimming around the struggling figure. It looked like her, and yet not like her. She came up into Alistair's face, far too close into his space bubble as she stared into his eyes. Her allure would hit him the moment he laid eyes on her, despite the fact that he was running out of air, a thought that would not dawn on her seeing as she had no need for air.

Alistair Harrington couldn't really feel the cold at all by the time Nerissa came up out of the deep - in truth, it felt warm. He was warm, comfortable... dying. Part of him shot that back to the top, and he started to struggle slightly, trying to get at the knife on his boot, but the water rushing up as he sank was too much, and his fingers wouldn't work right. Before he could try for long though, something came up to him, and he forced his eyes open against the cold, looking back to see... the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen in his life. His struggles slowed, and he watched her, enraptured for a moment. If he died then... he could be happy having seen her. It was enough... or was it? What the hell was he thinking? He shook his head just slightly, but it was all he could manage - bubbles trailing up from his mouth and nose as the last of it escaped. His eyes pleaded with her, but... would she help him? Surely someone so lovely... was that the cold screwing with his head, or something else?

Nerissa Ilirran narrowed her eyes at the sight of the small bubbles leaving his mouth, reaching out with her talons, she popped one, watching it shatter into a million tiny bubbles that floated upward. His eyes held panic, and she could see that all too familiar darkness in their depths as he sank lower. Tilting her head up, she observed the surface once more, her brain connecting the dots. Shooting downward past him, she severed the rope wit her sharp talons and came up from beneath him to wrap her long arms around his chest. Her tail propelled them both to the surface as she hurried to bring up with the air he so desperately needed. She would hold him there, balancing them both with her tail while he breathed and recovered from his near death experience.

Alistair Harrington would have looked surprised when she suddenly seemed to understand, cutting the rope and holding him close as she brought him toward the surface. He didn't care if she was one of the Others, taking him prisoner - at this point, he was just glad to be living through it. At least there was a chance... and if it was going to be with her, part of his mind still kept telling him that anything would be alright. He gasped for breath when they made it to the air again, taking deep, greedy breaths and then coughing a little at the water that had gotten in. He had the air now, but he was still shivering violently, holding to her - of course, insulated against the cold as she was, there was little warmth to be had... but it was something. "Th...thank-k you..." he managed, looking back over to her eyes - perhaps he would have been lost in them again, but now, he was just too damned cold.

Nerissa Ilirran couldn't seem to stop staring at him, he was so different then she was. She took his wrist in her taloned hand, lifting it up so she could inspect his hand, feel his flesh beneath her scales. His words confused her, as she didn't understand them in the slightest, and she seemed shocked that he made noise at all. Once it was clear he could hold himself up, she swam around him so she could face him completely. She was puzzled by the movements he was making, shuddering and trembling, perhaps he was not well.

Alistair Harrington was not well at all - this was the arctic circle, a human couldn't survive more than a minute or maybe two in this water. She'd brought him to the surface, he could breathe, but he couldn't swim for much longer. His muscles were already starting to fail him... the ship was still under power, almost a hundred yards distant for now, and he pointed toward it. "I.. n-need... to g-g-go there... p-please..." She didn't seem to understand what he was asking, but she had to. She had to or he was going to die... his little sister would never know. But there had been millions of casualties before him. He supposed he would be in good company...

Nerissa Ilirran followed his finger with her eyes, turning her head to look in the direction of the odd floating structure. it took her a few moments and then realization seemed to dawn. Wrapping her arms around him once more, she was careful to keep his head above the surface as she sped off towards the ship in the distance. It didn't take long for them to reach the ship and she circled it till she found a ladder attached to the side and pushed him towards it till he could grab a hold of it.

Alistair Harrington clung tightly to her, murmuring thanks as best he could when she took off toward the ship. The elven vessel was on fire and seemed to be sinking, and while the human ship was clearly damaged, it seemed to be doing alright. Alistair closed his eyes, trying to use his power to warm himself even a little... but then she was pushing him up, and he grabbed the ladder, pulling himself up just a bit and then looking down to her. "Thank you... thank you..." he whispered, shaking badly, but he started to go up. A moment later a few sailors caught sight of him, shouting for ropes and the like, and Alistair found himself being hauled up. But away from her... He tried to say something, thank her again, but darkness was closing in. Finally he had no choice but to let it.

Sometime later

Alistair Harrington stood on one of the rocks, looking out at the water and willing himself not to shiver as he watched the breakers. He'd only been officially discharged that morning, after the week long trip back to the port, which sat on a remote island off the coast of Alaska. It wasn't exactly balmy, hence the heavy overcoat he wore, and it didn't help that with his body still recovering from his near death via freezing water he didn't cope well with the cold. Still, he couldn't bear to sit inside any longer... and something had pulled him to the ocean. Without really meaning to he thought of her again, wondering. She was an Other, obviously - but she'd saved him. Saved him, and barely seemed to notice the fight or any of the others who had no doubt been cast into the darkness. Why save him...? And regardless, he wondered where she was. Come and gone like some kind of myth - he'd looked, and there was nothing whatsoever in the database about anything like her. No twenty five foot long mermaids with shark teeth and the most beautiful eyes... "The hell, Harrington...?" He scowled just a moment, sitting down and rubbing at his temples. He was losing it - had to be.

Nerissa Ilirran had followed the floating structure she'd last seen the human male enter, he'd disappeared over the edge and she hadn't seen him since. The ship itself had entered into a few battles, in which Neri took no part in accept playing clean up crew occasionally for shinies...or when she got hungry. She'd had a lot of time to think...though nothing to really think on. She was alone, no memory of who she was or where she came from. No memory of this world or anything about it. She ran purely on instinct, and her instincts told her to find that male again. So she'd followed the ship all the way back to port, remaining hidden from anyone else. Alistair was lucky, if the ship had left port she probably would have gone with it, as it was she was still there...waiting...but for what she didn't know. Swimming closer through the icy waters, towards the figure on the rocks so she could get a better look at him, she finally found what she was looking for. Reaching the surface, she let the top of her head break through so just her eyes were visible to him, watching him.

Alistair Harrington sat there for a time, pushing a hand back through his hair and trying to get a grip. He could have just imagined her, in truth - none of the others had seen her, just him returning to the ship, and without his knife. He could have dropped it after cutting himself free and only imagined her. They had detailed records on the Others, and new species didn't just pop up. The war had gone on too long for either side to have held anything back - and a race like THAT would have made the sea battles much worse on the humans, whose tech gave them a certain advantage out there. He'd ALMOST convinced himself of that when he glanced up and saw those eyes once more. He was struck instantly by the same thought again... of just how stunning they were, and he felt himself drifting toward her - before he caught himself and just avoided falling into the chill water. "Then... either I'm not crazy... or I'm crazier than I thought." he whispered, pushing himself out. After a moment's thought, he crept a little closer to her on the rocks before sitting again, watching her and trying not to do anything that might be frightening. "Thank you again for saving me... my name's Alistair. What's yours?"

Nerissa Ilirran watched him, studied him. As she had no memory of herself, she had no idea the power she held when people looked at her. When he crept out closer to her she closed some of the distance herself, and when he sat down and started talking she moved even closer. His words had her beautiful face contorting in confusion as she couldn't understand what he was saying. She swam even closer to him, pulling herself up slightly out of the water and resting her elbows on the edge of the rock. Blue and green scales that matched her hair and her eyes covered every inch of her exposed body, and he would see the outline of her tail in the water, but barely as it was meant to blend in and keep her protected.

Alistair Harrington paused, giving her some time, but she didn't answer. She just looked confused. He considered, taking a breath, and moved a little closer once she was propped up and mostly out of the water, moving to sit so they were within arm's reach of one another. A big part of him wanted to move closer, but he fought that.... it wasn't the sort of thing one did, and he was starting to be surprised at himself. "You don't talk. Makes sense... living underwater, sound waves don't travel the same way, complex speech doesn't work right... lends itself more to songs like whales use, or clicks." He whispered most of that, analyzing the situation as a sort of way to calm himself, then he looked back up at her. "Well I'm going to talk, I hope you don't mind. Tried to find you in a book, a database, anything... didn't find anything. Found a pretty word though, old word for mermaid, seemed to fit you. Nerissa sound alright? I have to call you something."

Nerissa Ilirran felt the urge to dive away from him when he got closer, though it battled with another rising urge...a couple of them actually. He smelled so good, it made her hungry, though she also felt an odd urge to reach up and press her lips to his. None of it made any sense to her, and the fact that he just kept talking wasn't helping either. She was getting frustrated as she didn't understand a word he said, her talon like claws scraping over the rock as she shifted, her tail lashing slightly. Tilting her head, much as a curious kitten might when it was confused she continued to watch him.

Alistair Harrington shook his head a bit, watching her as she moved. She was curious. Far from stupid, he saw that in her eyes. But she didn't understand at all. He sighed softly, and pointed at her. "Nerissa." he said, wondering if she would understand that much, then he stayed quiet. Watching her, hoping for some kind of response from her. Some way of her trying to reach back out to him in response. She knew he was trying to talk. Maybe she'd try and do something in return.

Nerissa Ilirran looked down at his finger as he pointed at her, frowning slightly and then brought one taloned finger up to point at herself. She tried to form the word he'd spoken, though it was difficult around the mouth of very sharp teeth. "Nneeerrriisssa?" she spoke, turning her gaze back up to him, as their eyes met once more, the urge to kiss her would seem to bump up a notch in his mind.

Alistair Harrington grinned as she responded, then nodded enthusiastically. "Yes!" He caught himself leaning closer as he nodded, but once he had... he couldn't make himself lean away again. There was a part of his mind that fixated for a moment on the whole... razor sharp teeth thing, but that was harder and harder to pay attention to. And, little by little... he started leaning in. Just a little at a time. It was a bad idea. Why was he doing it?

Nerissa Ilirran she frowned again as he seemed to lean closer in to her, though he seemed rather excited that she'd repeated the word he'd said. As he got closer, that urge to press her lips to his grew and grew until finally she leaned up further out of the water, extending her arms to do just that. Her cold scaled lips touched his, and her allure would amp up ten fold with the physical contact. While their lips were touching, something seemed to click in her mind and information started pouring in, somehow she knew it was coming from him and new she couldn't stop yet.

Alistair Harrington finally leaned a little closer, and she finished the job, moving up to kiss him. At that point, he lost any control he had and kissed her with reckless abandon, reaching out and putting his arms around her, deepening the kiss. He didn't even mind the cold of her scales, leaning against her and kissing her like she was his first love, returned after months away. The whole time he felt something in his head, but it wasn't an unpleasant situation... just a pulling. Words came to mind and then were gone, flowing in a torrent of images that even he could hardly keep up with... finally the kiss broke, and he pulled back slightly, looking into her eyes, oddly exhausted. "Nerissa...?" he asked, not sure why he would expect a response this time.... yet for some reason...

Nerissa Ilirran pulled away from him when she felt it was right, breaking the connection. Oddly her mind didn't feel so empty. and when he spoke the name he'd given her, the word formed in her mind, she could see it, see the letters and understand how it was spelled and how it was meant to be spoken, she also understood it's meaning. "That's very beautiful, thank you, it's a lovely name." she told him, though she concentrated on saying each word correctly...or at least how Alistair thought they were meant to be said as the information came directly from him.

Alistair Harrington blinked a moment as she spoke - more strangely she spoke without a trace of an accent, unless you counted a Midwestern American accent, in which case she had one... one exactly like his. "I... holy shit." he managed, blinking. It was easy to think she'd just figured out how to talk, but he was somehow certain that wasn't all there was to it, and he watched her carefully. The draw of her had lessened somewhat - at least, he felt like he could deal with it, to some degree. How long would that last? "I suppose I can thank you now... for saving me."

Nerissa Ilirran was no longer as confused as she had been, though all this new found knowledge she seemed to suddenly have was confusing all on it's own. "You're welcome...I think." she said, reaching out she let one fingertip run along the edge of his pants, feeling the material. "Do you know what I am?" she asked him.

Alistair Harrington blushed just slightly as she touched his pants, having to force that thought out of his head was something that wasn't that easy, until he took a breath and looked back up to her. "I wish I did. I've been looking. Thought maybe you were just something I imagined, so, I tried to find something, but I didn't have any luck. You don't know?" He frowned at this, before something else struck him. The iceberg the battle had shattered... it couldn't be that, could it? "Were... you in that ice?"

Nerissa Ilirran seemed disheartened as he told her that he didn't have any more idea of what she was then she did. When he asked her about it, she simply shook her head, water droplets from the ends of her hair which was slowly turning blonde now that it'd been above water for so long, splattered across the rocks. "I remember ice, I remember being incredibly cold, and then a bright light and heat and I was swimming through the ocean...and then I saw you." she told him.

Alistair Harrington frowned a bit at her expression, reaching out to put a hand gently on her cheek. He didn't know why, but it seemed important. Important to protect her if he could. Her hair was changing... he blinked a moment as he saw that, watching, then looked to her again. "I wish I knew more to tell you. I can look... just going to need more than the books on a naval base, I suppose... you don't remember anything about what happened before the ice then... frozen. I wish I knew more."

Nerissa Ilirran shook her head to his words again. "I don't remember anything, who I am, where I am, where I came from, how I got in that ice. There's a part of me that feels like I shouldn't be here, like something is pulling me away. I know I eat meat, I learned that while I was following your ship searching for you. I know I'm different and that I can't walk on land like you, but that's all I know. Everything I know has come from you." she said, turning her beautiful face up to him once more. The scales on her face seemed to be receding, replaced by human flesh.

Alistair Harrington nodded slowly, though it was hard to hear how much she was hurting. The worry in her voice. Though it was stranger to see the changes as they came over her. She was looking more like a human. Was that from the kiss, or... He frowned, looking her over. She was drying. Her scales were wet, but her skin, the blonde hair. That was dry. Strange... "You're turning human... as you dry. Like me." he whispered. "Then... we'll have to work something out. Find out what we can?"

Nerissa Ilirran when he spoke about her turning human, she lifted her hands to look at herself, as they had been out of the water long enough, her talons were receding back into her nail beds and her scales were giving way to human like flesh. She seemed just as shocked as he was. An idea formed in her head and she put her hands on the rocks, pulling herself out of the water completely to sit next to him. Her large tail could now be seen completely, small fins running down the outsides of her arms and down her sides and tail, most likely used for steering and stabilization. "Human...that's what you are...but what..what am I?"

Alistair Harrington reached out, pulling her up to sit beside him on the rocks, just waiting to see what happened as she changed... though one thing was essentially obvious. She was going to be stark naked. He blinked as the scales moved further down her body, and he pulled his coat off, putting it over her shoulders. "I doubt you get that cold, but... it's impolite for my people to see a lady naked when he's just met her..." he explained. Her allure wasn't exactly lessening... but as it went on the way it was, it was a bit easier to cope with. Something steady. Something he could cope with. "I don't know the name... there are lots of different names for things that look sort of like you. Mermaids, nymphs, naiads, ondine..."

Nerissa Ilirran his words confused her for a moment, and it wasn't that she didn't know what they meant, she just didn't understand the tradition. "Why? Do you not like it?" she asked him, looking down at herself as she was still mutating to human. She would be tall for a human female, and a bit on the skinny side, a swimmer's body one might call it. But she would be heavy, probably heavier then Alistair was. She perked up at the name Ondine. "Ondine...that...I don't know how to explain it...but that sounds right somehow."

Alistair Harrington shook his head. "It does not mean that at all. I like it very much. I'm only trying to be polite... maybe that doesn't make any sense now, but maybe it will later." He smiled brighter when her eyes lit at that name. "Then we'll go with that. Nerissa the Ondine. Nerissa... be careful, though. Humans, people like me... we've been fighting a war against nonhumans. If some humans see you, they might try to hurt you. I... I don't want that. More than I can really explain."

Nerissa Ilirran frowned again at his words. "Nonhumans? You mean like me, but not like me? Why would they hurt me if I've not done anything to them? Humans are confusing." she stated, not realizing it would become a sort of mantra for years to come.

Alistair Harrington paused for a moment, then he laughed. "They're confusing even if you are one." he admitted, and without realizing it he'd taken her hand. "I won't let them, if there's anything I can do to stop it. But I won't be here long... on this base. I'll have to go back out on the ship, the one you brought be back to. I go to this lower maintenance port sometimes, on the starboard side... if you feel like looking for me. I go to be alone, but I think it would be better for you. That probably sounds... weird."

Nerissa Ilirran took in a deep breath and brought her knees up to her chest, her tail had all but disappeared though the scales still covered her legs. "But is that I'll I'm gonna do? Follow your ship around forever?" she wondered out loud, resting her chin on her knees as she stared out at the ocean with her hazel eyes.

Alistair Harrington thought, then shook his head a little. "I don't expect that... I'll be out of the Navy in another couple years, when my tour comes up. After that I'll be other places, but I don't expect you to follow me. I was just... well if you wanted to find me." He felt rather stupid for saying it... but what else was he to say? If he didn't at least say he wanted to see her... "I'll see what information I can find. It's a big world. Lots to do... maybe you'll find something. It's better than being in the ice, right?"

Nerissa Ilirran "I don't know if it is, I'm just as lost here, at least in the ice I didn't feel." she stated, "Somethings missing, wrong even, like I'm not whole. I don't know how to explain it, there is just this big emptiness inside of me. Why am I alone, Why don't you know what I am? You say this world has books? You did research? But you couldn't find me...."

Alistair Harrington nodded, thinking for a moment. It was a depressing thought to say the least... worse to see that pain on such a lovely face. "I couldn't find you yet. You don't know me, but I'm a stubborn guy." he pointed out. He wasn't sure if he could reassure her... but he was going to be honest at least. "I can't promise. But I can promise I'll do everything I can. It's the least I can do."
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