WEP Challenge June 2021: The Great Wave

 

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The Great Wave

I

On the last day of Atlantis, Salgeth Ozell stood at his post in the outer circle surrounding the great city. The young guard enjoyed being assigned to night duty because the sirens often came to keep him company.  The sirens liked Salgeth because he was kind to them and didn’t chase them away as some of the other guards were wont to do.

Salgeth was a slender, handsome youth with wavy, shoulder-length hair the color of brown seaweed washed up on the shore. He had tawny eyes and a fallow complexion. The name Salgeth meant “where the ocean meets the shore.”

Most of the time, the sirens that visited Salgeth were female. The young man had a reputation among the lovely denizens of the deep for being a passionate and compassionate lover. Many young Atlantean women were enchanted by Salgeth’s beauty, but the handsome guard preferred the company of the sea maidens, who had no expectation of monogamy and were happy to share their delightful catch with one another.

Salgeth was also on good terms with many of the male sirens. His friends Ukveds, Ulmoix, and Vrusae often apprised him of gossip from the underwater realms, and Salgeth reported these findings to King Croncar and Queen Qaangrin.

Salgeth was great friends with Prince Ovril, the presumed heir to the throne of Atlantis. Ovril often joined Salgeth at his post, and together the pair would cavort with the lovely sirens. Salgeth, Ukveds, Ulmoix, and Vrusae noticed that Ovril’s affections for the siren princess Unda had deepened beyond casual enjoyment, and they cautioned their friend against falling in love.

When Ovril failed to heed their warnings, Salgeth took Ovril to the tower of Cronoth, the oldest and wisest sorcerer in the realm of Atlantis. The young guard hoped that even if Ovril would not listen to the advice of his friends, he would hear the wisdom of Cronoth.

“Your desire is working its way into your heart like the thorn of the Gri’ots,” Cronoth warned. “The Sea Princess enjoys your company and lusts for what lies between your loins, but she has no plans for a permanent union with you. Sire, how could she? She is, after all, immortal. Your life will pass by in the blink of an eye, and with the ages, you will be forgotten.”

Ovril, however, was obsessed with the idea of making Unda his bride. Salgeth, Ukveds, Ulmoix, and Vrusae felt that they had no choice but to speak to Unda directly and advise her to reject Ovril before his obsession with her led to tragedy.

 

II

Upon their next meeting with the sirens, Ovril was dismayed to find Unda’s demeanor considerably cooler. She advised the smitten prince that she could never be his bride, for she was the bride of the sea.

“A siren can never be betrothed to a human lover,” Unda explained. “I am immortal, and you are but a breath of ocean mist. I am sorry, Ovril, but what you wish can never be.”

The stricken Ovril watched as Unda walked away from him and dove from the cliff, disappearing in the seafoam. Mad with grief over the loss of his beloved, the prince turned to forbidden magic. At the next full moon, he brewed an elixir of dreaming according to a recipe said to be older than the Earth itself.

Into a flagon of pure water from the Spring of Ozuns, the prince mixed six drops of his own blood, five Qhod berries, four thorns from the Struuvied bush, three bitter drops of Xarrods, two yellow Phasiens gems, and a single drop of Nem’ill, a plant whose leaves could cure or kill. He quaffed the potent potion and fell into a deep slumber.

Ovril found himself on the shores of the lost continent of Lemuria, where he was approached by Draattux, a renegade priest whose wicked ways were said to have brought about the destruction of that once-mighty empire. Draattux advised Ovril to summon the fearsome sea-demon Quyagen, who would wash the world clean of inferior land-dwelling life forms and grant Ovril immortality. Thereafter, Ovril would rule the new ocean world side by side with Unda.

Ovril was charismatic, and his sycophants obeyed him despite his obvious descent into madness. He promised them a place at his side when he became king over the newly cleansed earth. He bade him bring the six priestesses of the Temple of Fuphir to Braalxeoks Cove, where they would become the Brides of Quyagen.

Realizing what was at stake, the denizens of the waters summoned Nodens to prevent the rise of Quyagen and the other Great Old Ones. Ukveds, Ulmoix, and Vrusae then hastened to warn Salgeth of what was about to transpire.

“Nodens will do what he must to prevent the greater devastation of the Earth,” they warned. “If we cannot stop Ovril and his lackeys, then the realm of Atlantis is doomed to fall.”

Salgeth and the sirens bravely battled the mad prince’s forces. But Ovril was by this time convinced that Salgeth was at fault for his abandonment by Unda.

“You wanted her for yourself, Traitor!” Ovril shrilled, setting upon Salgeth with his enchanted blade drawn.

Salgeth hoped that he could convince his friend to stand down, but Ovril’s blade hit home, thrusting upward into the guard’s heart.

 

III

As Salgeth’s blood washed into the water, the ocean began to roil. The minutes became hours as the waters rippled and foamed. Suddenly, a great wave reared up and crashed down, destroying the once-mighty realm of Atlantis.

With her salty tears hidden by the ocean’s spray, Unda carried the still form of Salgeth away under the tumultuous waves.

948 Words

Acknowledgements

Unda is a character appearing in H.P. Lovecraft’s 1919 poem, “Unda; or the Bride of the Sea.”

Quyagen is the creation of E.P. Berglund and Crispin Burnham, appearing in their 1974 story, “The Thing in the Library.”

Nodens is a Celtic deity associated with the sea. He initially appears in H.P. Lovecraft’s story, “The Strange High House in the Mist,” first publication Weird Tales, October 1931.

This story was written for the June 2021 WEP Challenge prompt “The Great Wave.”

http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com

The story also utilized the Reedsy weekly story prompts Write a story involving a character who cannot return home and Write about someone who’s desperately trying to change their luck. It was submitted to the “write about someone who’s desperately trying to change their luck” prompt on 15 June 2021.

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/

Happy 82nd birthday to my mother, who likely will never read this story. She doesn’t particularly care for my writing.

 


 The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)


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42 comments:

  1. Obsessional love rarely ends well - for anyone.
    An engrossing and sad use of the prompt. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I've been both the giver and the receiver of obsessive love. Neither is a good position to be in.

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  2. What a sweeping story! You've created such a vivid place in my mind - well done!

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  3. Hi,
    you have done an excellent job on your story. I was hoping that Salgeth would live but he was the one that could not return home, and Ovril, the one who was desperately trying to change his luck.

    Shalom aleichem

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. To be honest, I'd hoped that Salgeth would live too, but that isn't the way the story told itself to me.

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  4. I love Atlantean stories. Nicely done!

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  5. What a tragic ending! The entire story reads like a myth, on par with the legend of Atlantis.

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  6. Your story pulled me in from the start. It's well-written and the plot moves along and keeps the reader wanting to know more. The descriptions and characters are well thought out. Obsession and it's consequences make for an excellent story. I had a bit of trouble with the names but not so much that it took away from the story. Thanks for a great read.

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  7. I always enjoy stories about Atlantis and the sea creatures. A wonderful twist to an age-old unrequited love.

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  8. Hello there! I was swept away by your story (pun intended). Definitely a sweeping tale of love and loss. I wonder where Unda took Salgeth's body. Vividly told.

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  9. Hi Charlotte - happy birthday to your mother and all the family at this time. Atlantis conveys much for our imaginations ... while your underwater world offers much too - a sad tale. You've created well ... all the best - Hilary

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  10. I've always found stories revolving around Atlantis fascinating! Salgeth certainly tried to avert disaster, but Ovril was too obsessed with what he wanted to see the dire consequences of his actions. Such powerful obsession never ends well. Wonderful story!

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    1. Thank you. I've also always been fascinated by the Atlantis myth. I'm in the camp where I think there is some real-world archaeological basis for the story.

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  11. You built up quite a world. Sad though. But intrigued by how you brought together characters from other creations in your piece.
    -Sonia from https://soniadogra.com

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    1. Thank you. I'm a longtime Lovecraft devotee and often find myself expanding on his work.

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  12. Obsessions with eternal rule and limitless power - hmmm, now where have I come across that recently? Recipe for disaster if they'd only pause to think. Great use of the prompt and super story telling.

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    1. Thank you. I fear that donald tRump is going to invade my writing for quite some time. Charismatic, at least in the view of some folks, and dangerously obsessed. Ovril is basically tRump, although he does (I hope) possess some actual charm.

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  13. I thought I commented here before, but my comment seems to have disappeared.

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    1. Blogger isn't as bad as WordPress for it (in my opinion) but it does eat comments sometimes.

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  14. Great story—you really caught my imagination with that. So sad about poor Salgeth!

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    1. Thank you. He was one of those characters that I was sorry to kill off. This story is actually part of a longer epic, and he does reincarnate.

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  15. I love that your story pulls from sources your reader can access. As soon as I read the word "Atlantis" I automatically formed predictions and became drawn to find out what these characters would do to cause their own demise. Such an effective tool!

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  16. Oh so sad. A heavy price to pay for love gone wrong.
    Nancy

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  17. Beautifully well written using all the legends and lore at hand. Especially liked the short ending,leaving the reader to draw his/her's own conclusions. Thank you.

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  18. Fascinating Cie. I was lost tin the world you created.

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  19. Epic tale! (one proofreading note: I don't think "fallow" is the word you want in the context)

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  20. Hmm, I thought it was going to end badly, and it wasn't as tragic as I thought - but I felt the story was very much told, rather than shown. Perhaps you tried to fit too much into 948 words. I love the ideas you expressed in it though.

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    1. Well, I am a storyTELLER. I don't think that anyone would be terribly impressed by my crap stick figure illustrations.

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  21. Great story, had to concentrate on the names but you certainly kept my attention.

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