June 30, 938 AC
The Island of Eros
The air hung still and damp. The only sound from the island was the soft, persistent wash of the salty water against the silvered sandy shores in the moonlight. The dark shapes of trees and rocks were lit from her angle as her head broke the surface. She took a deep breath, the magic of her heritage allowing her to inhale the water as easily as the air. Her heart thudded painfully in her chest as she waited. Her long, slender tail beneath the waves and her outstretched arms in the water allowed her to easily maintain her position, her head barely out of the water so she could watch the island.
Here at last was her chance if she would only be brave enough to seek the island’s Master. She had come a long way just to reach this point. Another deep breath, inhaling the water in and then releasing it out again as easily as a human did air. With a flick of her tail she dove back beneath the waves. Another stroke and she shot through the water with the ease of a creature born to it. Faster than most fish, more agile than even the most determined predator, she cut through the water, angling for shore.
She paused again as the water began to recede and the sand to rise, the ocean waters giving way. Holding herself rigid she coasted along the waves, allowing the strength of the water to carry her up. The sand scraped her breasts, her stomach, down her tail as the surf swept her up the sand. She timed her grab, just as the water reached its’ crest she reached out and dug her fingers into the sand. As the water around her sank back toward its greater body she clung to the sand. She ignored the pull of the water trying to drag her back into its embrace and instead focused on her long tail.
A moment’s thought and she sand into the heart of her people’s natural magic. Though few were talented enough to see magic in its purest form, she didn’t need to see it to feel it course through her. As though uncurling through her center the magic spread from the center of her chest down. Her long, sinuous tail, the color indistinct in the moonlight warmed and began to shrink, becoming more rigid as it pulled close to her. The colored patterns of her scales seemed to meld in the silvery light of the moon as her scales shrank along with the rest of her tail, then seeming to sink into the skin that emerged from beneath as her legs formed.
She took a deep breath of air as she felt the peculiar sensation of her fins splitting, her legs partway between fin and leg when the next wash of the tide hit her. She dug her fingers into the sand, concentrating on finishing the transformation that would let her invade the island she clung to properly. The change continued to rush over her, the end of her tail having split to form her feet continued to shrink until she could wiggle her toes, digging them into the sand to help anchor her there as the water drained away from her for the second time.
And then it was done.
Shifting carefully, she drew herself up, ripping herself away from the water and taking her first, determined steps onto the island of Eros. She dripped water, the silvered sand dark where the droplets fell as she staggered forward and then fell to her knees. It was not always so difficult to change but the Island of Eros held to its dark stories. Even the magic inborn to her people was difficult to access here and that one small change from creature of water to creature of land had wearied her.
She closed her eyes, concentrated on the rough sand scraping against her knees and calves where she knelt, covering her, making her itch. She couldn’t help wondering if it would have been easier had she changed in the water and then tried to ascend, but this wasn’t supposed to be easy.
Slowly, she regained her purpose and her breath. She raised her head to look around. The trees of the island were even darker this close. The light of the moon did not seem to penetrate their wide boughs.