Of Kelp and Potions

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far below the sea, lived a mighty merman king. The king was called Tertius, and he had seven children that he doted upon with great joy, three beautiful daughters and four handsome sons. He ruled his family as he did his kingdom, with an iron fist and absolute control, but his heart was essentially kind and he prided himself on the happiness of both his people and his bloodline. Their kingdom was harmonious and peaceful, filled with the many peoples of the sea, and life was good.

If there was one problem in King Tertius’ life, however, it was his youngest son. Aneurin was handsome, and smart, with a gentle and joyous personality that made all who knew him love him instantly and completely. He was gifted with a voice that, when he sang, was considered the most beautiful in all of the Seven Seas. He was his father’s favorite son. He should, his family thought, be the happiest of them all. However, he was not. Aside from being sweet and kind, Aneurin was also curious and taken to flights of fancy. He wanted to know everything there was to know, even things that were better left as secrets, and what he couldn’t figure out he’d imagine. He was often seen floating about the kingdom, lost in his own world, singing songs to tunes that only he could hear. This, in and of itself, would not have been a problem. His father was more than happy to tolerate his son’s odd behavior if it meant that he was content. What his father could not allow, however, was the path that his son’s curiosity had led him to.

Aneurin was absolutely and completely in love with all things having to do with the world of land above the sea.

Long ago, even before the reign of the ancient King Tertius, the Powers that Be in the land beneath the sea had decided that the surface world was not a safe place for their people to be. The inhabitants of the sea and those of the land were simply too different to ever truly understand each other, let alone coexist, and most believed that it could only ever end badly. So the Great Families of the time had decided together, along with their king, to forbid contact between the two worlds. It was a rule that King Tertius held fast to, despite his son’s inclinations and the occasional request from some of the nobility.


So it was in secret that young Aneurin had to obsess over the land, and often he would sneak away in the dead of night and travel far from his father’s castle and towards the distant shore. He would sit on the rocks near the land, or sometimes even swim into the little whirlpools that would bring him almost to the shore, and he would watch the world around him that was so different from the sea that he was used to. He would wonder at the birds, so like fishes without the need of the water to hold them aloft, and listen to their sweet songs. Sometimes he would sing along with them, laughing as his voice entwined with their chirps and whistles. He would lay back, floating in the shallow water, and watch the fluffy clouds float by, thinking they looked like great wads of kelp, and he would search to make order out of chaos, finding images in each and every one. He would gaze at the distant castle that sat atop a hill near his favorite beach and wonder what life was like within its walls.

It was a world that he longed to be a part of.


One night Aneurin was splashing about in a pool near the shore, talking animatedly to the starfish that lived there, when he heard a sound coming from the line of trees just beyond the sand. He ducked down behind a rock and watched, entranced, as the most beautiful young man that he had ever seen walked out from behind a tree and started towards the water. Aneurin could not look away as the human drew ever nearer, and his bright blue eyes were unnaturally wide as he took in every detail of the man, his short, wavy black hair, his beautiful grey eyes, the broad shoulders and strong body that were hidden beneath tight clothing. But, most of all, it was the strong legs that carried the human closer and closer to him that captivated Aneurin’s attention. He looked down at his own tail, the vibrant blue scales glittering in the moonlight, and wondered, not for the first time, what it would be like to walk on two legs instead of swimming with a single fin.

He felt as though his heart would burst suddenly as he realized that his tail would not allow him to go onto the land and approach the handsome human, and he wanted to weep, for he had fallen hopelessly in love with the stranger the moment that he had laid eyes upon him, yet they would forever be apart.

It was dawn before Aneurin returned to his father’s palace, for he had spent the entire night watching the human man as he reclined upon the shoreline staring up at the night sky, occasionally coming to the waters edge to bath his feet in the sea, never the wiser that he was being watched by one who’s heart he now held dominion over. Aneurin had longed to go to him, to speak with him and touch him, but he had dared not lest the human become frightened by his strange appearance. Come dawn a servant had come looking for the human to fetch him home, and Aneurin had learned two things; one, like himself the young man was a prince, from the castle atop the hill, and two, his name was Blair. The name was like the sweetest music to the merman’s ears, and he whispered it to himself continually as he swam back to his rooms, as though it were a prayer.


Over the next several nights Aneurin returned to the same spot hoping to catch sight of his prince once again, and to his great relief Prince Blair seemed to have taken a liking to the solitude that the small patch of beach provided, for he was to be found there nightly. Aneurin wondered if it wasn’t the sense of solitude that appealed to the prince, for it was a desire that he could understand wholeheartedly as a young prince in his own father’s castle. Each night Aneurin would secret himself behind a rock as near to the shore as he could find and he would watch the young prince as he’d lounge upon the sand, sometimes reading a book that he had brought with him, other times simply reclining in the sand and watching the world pass by in the night. Several times he brought with him a companion, sometimes a beautiful maiden and other times a handsome guard or a fellow nobleman, but each time that the prince was not alone Aneurin would find himself too frightened of discovery and he would swim back to the sea, fearful that the two humans would want to swim in the water. Only one thing remained the same throughout each visit to the beach, and that was the fact that each time that Aneurin was forced to leave his beloved prince behind his heart would break that little bit more, for to be parted from his heart’s desire was to know a pain that he had never thought possible.

This went on, night after night, and soon the seasons had changed and the water grew chilled. Aneurin’s family and friends, as well as those about the castle, began to notice a difference in their once carefree little merman, and before very long the king had become quite concerned. He knew that something was wrong with his youngest son, but neither he nor Aneurin’s siblings could get him to speak on what was the matter. Aneurin knew that his family would not approve, and that just by going to the shore to watch the humans he was in violation of his father’s decrees, and so he could tell no one about his heartache or why he suffered so.


Soon it had been an entire year and still Aneurin suffered due to the separation from his beloved prince. Rather than lessening, the love that he felt for Prince Blair only grew as time passed, and soon being with the handsome human was the only thought to occupy Aneurin’s mind. However, as he was a creature of the sea and Blair a man of the land, Aneurin did not think that ever the two could meet. His songs, once joyous and happy, became sad and maudlin, and they more often than not ended with Aneurin in tears. Then one day the answer to his prayers suddenly was given to the young prince of the sea.

In passing Aneurin had overheard two nobles talking of an exiled wizard who lived deep within a grotto far from the castle. The wizard had been exiled long before Aneurin had been born and it was forbidden for all within the kingdom of the sea king to go near the cursed lair of the exile, although Aneurin could recall having heard frightening tales from those who had dared to venture too close to the wizard’s domain. He had, however, also heard tales of the powerful magicks at the man’s disposal.

A plan began to form in Aneurin’s mind, and soon he had decided that to ease the pain in his heart he would brave any horrors, if only it meant that he could be at his beloved’s side one day.


The journey to the wizard’s lair was a long and dangerous one, through unfamiliar and frightening paths far from the light and joy of his home, but Aneurin was never once deterred from his destination. Before leaving he had attempted to speak to his father about the matter, but as soon as his father had learned that his intended journey had anything to do with a human the king had flown into a rage and forbidden his son from leaving the castle or seeing his human prince again. Aneurin loved his father, and had thus far in his life deferred to the wise old king in all things, but this time he simply could not listen to his father. His very heart was at stake, after all.

He had waited until his father was otherwise occupied and he had stealthily swum away from the castle, silently begging his father’s forgiveness. He feared, however, that he would never have the chance to find out if his father forgave him or not, because if his plan went as he hoped that it would he would be a creature of the sea no longer. Although the though pained him, the desire to lie in his beloved’s embrace made it a trade that he was more than willing to make.

After what seemed like an entire day of traveling as fast as his fin would carry him, Aneurin at last reached the area that was the wizard’s domain. Aneurin looked upon the entrance to the grotto and at once felt afraid. He was deeper into the sea than ever he had been, and little light from above reached the area, although everything was bathed in a strange blue glow that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. There was a long and winding gravel path that led to the mouth of the cave where the wizard was said to live, and all along the path there were strange vine-like plants that waved too and fro with the shifting of the currents, their grey leaves rising ten feet or more from ground to top. As Aneurin paused, suddenly uncertain before the long path, he began to hear a sad wailing coming from the waving sentries. The sound chilled him to the bone. Then he remembered the reason for his visit, and all that he had left behind to live his destiny, and he knew that nothing must deter him.

He took a deep breath, gathered his resolve, and began to swim carefully through the path, careful not to get too close to the weeping vines. As he passed them by Aneurin tried not to look at the eerie sight, but the young merman couldn’t help but see the bones and decomposing carcasses of sea creatures that had obviously gotten too close to the vines and had become entangled in them, never to escape. By the time that he had reached the dark mouth of the cave he was trembling, trying desperately to forget what he had seen, terrified that at any moment one of the vines might reach out to grab at his tail, fearful that he would share the fates of the unfortunates who had come before him. Then the sound of laughter sounded from deep within the cave, and Aneurin had a whole new reason to be afraid.

“Come closer, sweet young thing,” a voice echoed from far away, deep and rumbling, “I’ve been expecting you.”


His name was Isadore, and once he had been considered to be the most powerful wizard in all of the seven seas. Aneurin had heard that he had even served his father’s court, although since it was forbidden to even speak his name Aneurin had never known for certain if such was true. Nor did he know what atrocities the wizard had committed to be banished from his father’s kingdom. All he knew was that he was his last and only hope of finding happiness with his prince.

Aneurin swam deep into the cave in search of Isadore, and soon he saw a gentle light emanating from deep within the heart of the cave. As the light grew brighter Aneurin knew that he must be close to his destination, and he began to think again on what he would say when at last he found the wizard, for he had gone over his pleas in his head many times during his long journey. In the end though, he knew that it was pointless, for whatever the wizard asked in exchange for his assistance the young merman would give him, such was the strength of his love for the human prince.

“So, you’ve come at last,” the same deep voice from before startled the merman prince when he at last entered the large chamber that was the heart of the cave. Aneurin was momentarily afraid to look at the owner of the voice, but soon his eyes came to rest on the wizard, and he was surprised by what he saw.

Aneurin had expected something fearsome and monstrous, such did the few whispered stories that he had heard lead him to believe the wizard was, but what he saw was far less fearsome than he’d have thought. Isadore was tall and elegant, his bare chest as pale as a new pearl, muscled and strong, his body ending in eight thick tentacles that were the dark grey of a clam shell. His face was all sharp angles, his eyes fierce and bright, but not in an unpleasing or ugly way. His eyes, as well as the long strands of his hair that danced about his face and shoulders, were the same grey as his tentacles, and all and all Aneurin thought that he made quite an attractive, if imposing, picture. It was not what he had been expecting.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” Aneurin began, more than a little intimidated by the dark gaze of the wizard, and by the feeling of power that seemed to roll off of the man, “but I have come seeking your help, great wizard. You’re the only one who can save me.”

“Save you,” Isadore questioned, intrigued by the beautiful young merman who had wondered into his domain. His scouts had told him that one of the king’s children was journeying towards him, and now his curiosity would be assuaged at last. It was not, after all, very often that he received visitors. “And what, pray tell, do you need saving from?”

“From a lifetime of heartache,” Aneurin answered, tears already springing to his eyes, “I am in love with a human who I can never be with as I am.”

If Isadore was surprised, then he hid it well.

“He can not survive in our world, and I can not even approach him as I am, and so I have had to watch him in silence this long year past,” Aneurin hadn’t meant to get so emotional in front of a stranger whom he was already imposing upon, but by the time he had spoken these words he was sobbing from the strength of his pain and heartache, “I love him with all of my heart, and my only desire is to be at his side always, but I have no way to do that. I am hoping that you can help me, for you are the only one with enough power to change Fate itself.”

“I’m surprised that any at the royal court still know of my power,” Isadore said with a sneer, “For you have heard correctly. I am the only one with the power to grant you your wish.”

Aneurin’s heart leapt with joy at this pronouncement.

“But,” Isadore wondered aloud, noticing the way that they young man’s face all but crumpled from the smile that had graced it only moments ago, “I have to wonder, what has this human done to earn such devotion from one of the sea’s princes?”

“He did not need to do anything,” Aneurin declared, “I loved him at first sight. Simply by existing he has earned my love.”

“My, but I’d forgotten how foolish the young can be,” Isadore laughed none too merrily, “Love at first sight? Such a fleeting thing, in my experience.”

“My love is not fleeting!”

“And what does your illustrious father, the great king of the sea, have to say about his son falling so for a human?”

“My father has forbidden our union.”

“So, he is not such a fool after all,” Isadore said, “Or he has gained wisdom with age. Good for him.”

“Then you will not help me,” Aneurin was crushed. If the wizard did not help him then no one could. He did not know what to do, he didn’t think that he could face his father should he return home. Nor did he think that he could face the possibility of a lifetime without his beloved prince. “All is lost.”

“Did I say that I wouldn’t help you,” Isadore suddenly said, a twisted sort of smile distorting his features.

“Then you can do something to help me, to help us?”

“I can,” Isadore agreed, “But I wonder, do you understand what it is that you’ll be giving up if you succeed?”

“For the love of my prince I would do anything, forfeit anything, so long as I can be with him.”

“Mortals are such transient creatures, here one moment and in the ground the next,” Isadore said, “Yet you are of the sea, and as such you will go on for far longer than your prince. And when he is gone you will not be welcomed back into the embrace of the sea. You will be alone. Is his love really worth such a price?”

“Yes,” Aneurin answered without hesitation.

“My price will be steep,” Isadore warned, “Are you certain that you wish to pay that on top of it all?”

“Whatever you ask, it is yours.”

“So be it,” Isadore sighed, seemingly not as pleased with the young prince’s acquiescence as he would have liked to have been, “Then I can brew you a potion that will give you legs in place of your tail and will make you appear as one of them. Then you can go to your prince and see if he returns your love.”

“And your price?”

“My price is two fold,” Isadore warned again, “In exchange for making this brew for you I will accept one thing only as payment. I have heard that you have the most beautiful voice in all of the seven seas, and as it is quiet and lonely down here in my isolation I should like to have that voice as company. Give me your voice and I shall give you your legs.”

“But how will I tell Prince Blair how much I love him if I don’t have my voice?!”

Isadore looked at the young prince, took in the beautiful and expressive blue eyes, the long, flowing strawberry blonde locks, the pretty face and well formed body, and he laughed. “Trust me, dear boy, you have other ways of winning his affections. Ways aplenty. Do not worry on that account.”

“And the second price,” Aneurin asked wearily, “What else would you ask of me?”

“This brew is hard to make, and it does not last all that long,” Isadore warned, “But I shall enchant it with special magicks so that, should you win the prince’s heart and his true love, it will last forever. You will then be able to stay by his side for as long as you wish. However, should you fail to win his love by the time that the potion’s potency wears off, you shall become mine. As I said, it is lonely down here, and I have been in exile for so long that any company should be much appreciated. Fail to win the prince’s love and you shall return here and become my slave from that day forth. Agreed?”

Aneurin was suddenly frightened again, but he though of his beloved prince on the land above and he could not help but think that any risk was worth the chance to win his love, “How long will I have?”

“The potion will last for three months, if you continue to receive treatment regularly. I will give you the main draught as soon as it is done, and then I shall visit you once every third evening to give you the rest, as well as to keep track of your progress.” Isadore saw Aneurin’s uncertainty in his eyes, but he would take nothing less than full agreement, “That is the deal. Take it or leave it, little prince.”

Aneurin could only say one thing. “Agreed.”


It took almost two full weeks to brew the complicated potion, and in that time Aneurin flitted about the sea collecting ingredients for Isadore, both for his potion and to replenish the wizard’s supplies. At night the two talked of many things, for Isadore knew much about Aneurin’s favorite subject, the world of men. Although he had initially been frightened, and although the price he asked for his help was very high and potentially disastrous, Aneurin came to enjoy the other man’s company and he hoped that Isadore felt the same. The only thing that the wizard would not talk about, however, was the reason for his exile. On that account he was every bit as tight lipped as the nobles back in King Tertius’ castle. As the time to leave him grew nearer, Aneurin decided that it was a mystery that he would never have solved, for he planned never to return to the sea once he drank the wizard’s potion.

When at last the bargained for potion was completed Aneurin found himself more than a bit sad at the thought of leaving Isadore’s side, for he had grown quite fond of the older man in the time that he had spent with him waiting for the brew to be finished, but he had not been able to see his beloved prince the entire time and he was longing for the sight of him as well as the chance to walk in the sunlight and upon the ground.

At sunset on the day that the potion was completed Aneurin and Isadore took the long journey from the dark grotto, up to the surface and near to the shore, and there they waited for the sun to finally sink beneath the horizon.

“When dusk falls the potion will be at its greatest strength,” Isadore had said as he’d made his way to the surface for the first time in ages, “That is when you will drink the brew and give me your voice.”

Aneurin only nodded mutely, his stomach a mass of churning nerves, his brilliant blue eyes wider than they should have been. Isadore reached out a hand to stroke at the golden-red locks on the younger man’s head, something within him crying out to him to comfort the boy, but his touch was not even noticed and the wizard let his hand drop after a moment. All was silent and still as the two watched the sun begin to set.

“Are you sure about this,” Isadore had to ask, “Once you make the trade there will be no going back.”

Aneurin almost said that, no, he was not certain, but at that exact moment his prince walked out from the bank of trees that had hidden him and began to walk towards the shore. At the first sight of his beloved after so long an absence Aneurin’s heart leapt, and suddenly he had no doubts. “I’m sure.”

“As you wish.”

Isadore held out his hands, in one the bottle of glittering potion, in the other an enchanted shell that would soon hold Aneurin’s melodic voice. He handed the bottle to Aneurin and held up the shell between them, but he was startled into nearly dropping it when Aneurin darted forward and laid a kiss upon his cheek.

“Thank you,” the young man said sweetly before pulling out the cork on the bottle and downing the potion quickly, lest his courage fail him.


That night Isadore watched from behind a massive rock as the human prince came across an unconscious Aneurin, now every bit as human looking as he was. He watched as the human looked around, most likely looking for a shipwreck, wondering where the other man could possibly have come from and how he had ended up on such an isolated stretch of shore, his brow furrowed as his head whipped back and forth while he looked for answers. After a while, when no answers were forthcoming, he shrugged broad shoulders at the perplexing mystery and at last bent to touch the unconscious Aneurin. Isadore had to smile as he watched the prince’s eyes darken as they wondered, suddenly filled with hunger and longing, across the nude form of the former merman. He wondered how Aneurin could ever have thought that his voice would be the only thing that would attract the attentions of a young man?

Then Blair picked up the smaller man in his arms and made for the nearby castle, and Isadore was left alone.

“Three days, my prince,” Isadore said to one who would not answer, “Enjoy them.”


Aneurin awoke to sunlight, bright and warm across his face, and he instinctually rolled away from the light. He burrowed his face deep beneath the feather-filled pillow that he’d been resting upon, curling his body into a ball and pulling the heavy duvet more securely around himself. And then he sat up with a start. Feather pillows and silk duvets? Such things were not found in the sea.

“Awake at last, young master?” An unfamiliar voice chuckled, and a matronly looking maid dressed in a plain suite of black with a crisp white apron tied about her waist suddenly came into view as Aneurin swung his head towards the far side of the room with enough force to make himself momentarily dizzy. “I’ll go and fetch the prince then.”

The maid left immediately, shutting the door politely behind her, and Aneurin was left alone. He looked around the room with wonder, his memory slowly returning to him, and he shook with a laughter that was almost frantic as he realized what must surely have happened. He remembered taking the potion from Isadore’s hand, downing it in one great gulp before his courage could fail him, and then everything had gone black in an instant. The prince must have found him, certainly becoming concerned, and brought his unconscious body back to the castle with him. Aneurin couldn’t be happier at how wonderfully everything had turned out.

He would certainly have cried out with joy, so great was his happiness, but when he tried to speak out nothing happened. His spirits fell for a moment, but then he reminded himself that such was the price that he had paid for his heart’s desire, and in the grand scheme of things it truly did not seem such a high price. He was, after all, already in his prince’s care. It was only a matter of time before his dream was realized. What did it matter that he had no voice if he had true love?

Aneurin wanted to wait patiently for Prince Blair to appear, but his curiosity soon won out, and with careful movements he pulled off the covers and tried to rise from the bed. He was shocked by the appearance of two fully formed legs where once his beautiful blue fin had been, and he ran his hands experimentally across the planes of the long, lean limbs, marveling at the delicate hairs that covered the silky soft skin. He wiggled his toes and scissored his legs back and forth, side to side, feeling the different ways that muscles and tendons that had not been there before now felt. It was a strange feeling indeed, but one that Aneurin was excited to experience, and he refused to mourn the loss of his glittering scales for long.

At last he grew bold enough to try to stand on his new legs, and with ginger ease he placed first one foot and then the other onto the cool stone of the chamber’s floor. The chill was a shock, and he pulled back before ever he’d left the comfort and safety of the bed, but on the second try he was able to place both feet upon the ground and place a bit of weight upon them. Then he tried to stand, but unaccustomed as he was to balancing his body’s weight without the aid of the sea, he fell almost instantly to the floor when he left the bed.

As he floundered on the cold stones of the chamber floor, trying his best to rise on unfamiliar limbs that refused to cooperate, Aneurin suddenly wanted to cry. To come so close, only to be defeated by his own body, simply seemed too cruel. Then he thought of everything that he had gone through, all of the suffering of his heart throughout the past year, and he knew that he had to get up no matter how hard it was. He was, after all, still a prince, even if he would never see his lands again. He could not allow his beloved Blair to see him in such a state.

He steeled his nerves, fought down his frustrations, and took a deep, calming breath. He carefully placed the soles of his feet upon the chilly ground, used his arms to leaver himself up with the help of the bed, and soon found himself balanced precariously against the tall wooden frame of the bed. He allowed himself a tentative smile for his accomplishment, but still he knew that he had further yet to go, and with no small amount of nerves Aneurin released his hold upon the post and took his very first trembling step.

The first step was small, and his body trembled as he tried to avoid another fall, but Aneurin had always been a fast study, something his tutors had always praised him for and his siblings had envied, and soon he was walking about the room as though he had always done so. Again he wanted to cry out with joy, but his voice simply would not come, not even the gentle pearls of laughter that were begging to spill from his lips. But his happiness was so great that even his limitations could not squash his exhilaration.

His face was still split in a wide grin when the door to the bedroom opened and in stepped the one person that Aneurin had longed so to see. The young prince of the sea, or perhaps formerly of the sea would be more to truth, had been spinning about on one leg, graceful as a dancer once he had gained his footing, laughing silently, a childlike glee evident in every movement, but the moment that the door opened he froze in place and felt unable to move a single muscle. Aneurin was like a statue for a moment, but as he was neither made of stone nor an artist’s perfect creation he could not maintain his pose for long, and before he knew it he was tumbling head first into Prince Blair’s arms.

It was not, Aneurin had a fleeting moment of panicked thought, the way that he had imagined their first true meeting.

“And hello to you too,” his deep voice was like music to Aneurin’s ears, “I take it that you’re feeling better than when last we met?”

Prince Blair, strong and muscled as he was, caught the much smaller Aneurin easily in his arms and held the other close, looking down into his frightened blue eyes with grey ones that laughed and teased. They stared into each other’s eyes for a long moment, considering each other, Prince Blair’s curiosity obviously piqued and Prince Aneurin’s terror clear in the rigidity of his body and the slight trembling of his full lower lip. At length Blair’s hand came up to stroke back Aneurin’s long locks, tucking a wayward strand behind one once pointed ear.

“Not that I’m complaining,” the prince said at last, a smile on his lips as he teased, “but isn’t it normally tradition to give one’s name and wait for introductions before becoming quite so intimate as all this?”

This was the moment that Aneurin had been dreading ever since Isadore had laid out the terms of their bargain. How was he to win his beloved’s heart if he couldn’t even give him a name by which to call him? His heart sank and Aneurin would have surely fallen to the ground had Blair not been holding him so firmly.

“What’s wrong,” the prince became alarmed when the young man in his arms suddenly weakened and nearly fell. Considering how animated he’d appeared when they’d entered the room it was not the reaction that he had expected to such a simple question. It made him fear the other’s reaction to more invasive inquires.

Aneurin tried to gain his footing again, but the pounding of his heart and the trembling of his body made it difficult. He clung to Blair’s arms with a sudden desperation, looking up into the handsome face that had so captivated him a year ago, his eyes wide and pleading. How to make him understand?

“Dear, what’s the matter,” the plump little maid from earlier came closer, concern written clearly on her features, obviously every bit as worried as the prince must have been. “You’re safe here, don’t worry, you can tell us who you are.”

Aneurin only shook his head, wanting to wail in despair but unable to do even that.

“Come,” Blair urged, “tell us who you are and where you come from.”

Aneurin said nothing.

“I think,” the maid said after a moment’s thought, “that he must have been struck dumb by the shock of whatever disaster it was that brought him here. He doesn’t speak because he can’t.”

Aneurin shook his head again, this time in the positive, and willed the prince to understand. It was not that he didn’t want to tell him his name. It was only that he couldn’t.

“I see,” the prince said, obviously agreeing with his servant, “how unfortunate.” Then he turned his attentions back to the young man that he still held in his arms, his hand once again rising to pet at the silky tresses that had called to him since he had first come across the unconscious body on the sand near the sea. “Then how shall I know who you are or what to call you?”

Aneurin didn’t care what he was called, so long as he could stay at the prince’s side, so long as those massive hands didn’t stop carding through his hair, soothing away his nerves. Nothing else mattered.

Aneurin tried to tell Prince Blair, through expression as Isadore had told him to do, that his name was unimportant. He had left that behind, as far as he was concerned, along with his kingdom, his family, and the life that he had lead up until that point. All for the man before him. He clung more tightly to him and silently begged not to be tossed aside, to be allowed to stay at the prince’s side, where he knew that he belonged.

The prince nodded, smiling down at Aneurin, and Aneurin could do nothing but sigh with relief. His prince understood. He had known that he would, that the connection between them, ordained by Fate, was true. Words were unimportant when a pair had something like that.

“A name’s not important, I suppose,” Prince Blair said, “We’ll think of something to call you soon enough. You are really quite pretty, and I love to be surrounded by beautiful things, so I would hate to give you up so soon after finding you. It may well have been Fate that I found you there, alone and at the mercy of the sea, so I think that it would be for the best if I was to keep you.”

And suddenly, for the first time in a year, Aneurin was content.


The next three days passed blissfully for Aneurin. Prince Blair seemed to delight in his excited reactions to things most mundane, from the tailor who came to fit him with proper clothes for his now human body to the odd exercise of washing a body that now pruned when left in the water for too long, and as a result Aneurin was near to his prince more often than not in the days that followed. Blair would laugh the laughter that Aneurin could no longer express, laughing all the harder when Aneurin would join in without a sound passing his beautiful lips. Then the prince would reach out a hand and stroke the long strawberry locks on Aneurin’s head as he had on the very first day and tell him, “There is none so sweet as you.”

Aneurin had never been happier.

Then came the setting of the sun on the third day. Aneurin crept out of the dinning hall when no one was looking and made his way quickly down to the shore to meet with Isadore, as they’d agreed. He wouldn’t dare miss the meeting and risk loosing his human body, of shocking and possibly horrifying the prince, but also Aneurin longed to share his happiness with someone. Anyone. And he knew that Isadore would understand him, whether he was allowed to speak or not, for he was the one to have set all of this in motion in the first place. Besides, he had missed the older man, even if his thoughts were for the most part occupied by his beloved prince.

Aneurin all but skipped down to the shore, smiling all the while in the light left by the setting of the sun, until he was at last at the secluded little patch of land where he and the wizard had agreed to meet. Isadore was already there, lounging against a rock, soaking up the last of the day’s warmth, and Aneurin beamed all the brighter at the sight of the familiar face.

“I see you had no trouble slipping away,” Isadore said without opening his eyes, “I hope that doesn’t reflect poorly on the level of the prince’s affections or attentions?”

Aneurin shook his head in the negative, a little more boldly than he might normally have done, for he had learned in the past few days that the more animated his movements and expressions the more easily he was understood.

“Oh, stop that at once,” Isadore couldn’t help but laugh as Aneurin’s long braid snapped from side to side, all but smacking him across the face as his head moved, “You’ll end up bruising that pretty face of yours. And, besides, you look positively ridiculous.”

With that he produced from a pouch that he wore at his waist the same enchanted shell that he had used to take Aneurin’s voice. He held it high, pointed the open lips towards Aneurin, and in between one heartbeat and the next Aneurin knew that he could once again speak.

“Thank you,” his voice was not, as he’d expected, hoarse from disuse, and he smiled at the wizard all the more brightly. He splashed out into the water and flung his arms around Isadore’s broad form, saying again, “thank you.”

“Yes, well,” Isadore seemed unused to the younger man’s warmth and kindness, and his words failed him for a moment, “I- It would have been rather hard to ask you how your courtship goes if you can’t speak, now wouldn’t it?”

“I suppose,” Aneurin glanced at Isadore from beneath lowered lashes, trying his best to seem cowed, but he knew that Isadore was not nearly so fearsome as he’d like others to believe and he appreciated the kindness all the more. “That’s very practical of you.”

“So,” Isadore cleared his throat as he pulled back to hold Aneurin at arms length, getting his first good look at the boy since he had become a human, “how do you find the world of mortal men? Is it everything that you imagined it would be?”

“Everything and more,” Aneurin answered. “There’s so much to see and do. And nothing is as it is under the sea, except for when it is, that is. It’s wonderful!”

Isadore chuckled to see such exuberance. He had worried when first he’d heard Aneurin’s request that a creature of the sea was simply too different from the men of land to ever exist in their world, but it seemed that Aneurin was having no trouble at all adjusting to his new world. Although, after getting to know him over the weeks that they had spent together in his grotto, he really wasn’t all that surprised. Aneurin was a different kind of person altogether.

While Aneurin prattled on about what he had seen and experienced thus far in the castle Isadore reached into his pouch once again and produced a vial much like the one that had held the original potion that had so transformed Aneurin a few days earlier. He waited patiently for the young man to stop talking before telling him to swallow it down, lest his humanity be all too fleeting. Aneurin paused for only so long as it took to drink the sweet concoction before racing headlong into another story about his days in the lands of the humans.

“And your prince,” Isadore finally asked, when at last Aneurin was forced to pause for breath, not sure of what answer to expect. He knew that he had been captivated by Aneurin the moment they had met, swept away by the tide of his belief that life really could be worth living and that happiness was something that was actually attainable, but he did not know how much of that bottomless optimism and genuine warmth of spirit the boy had been able to communicate to his human prince. “How goes the quest for true love. Has he fallen hopelessly in love with you already?”

Aneurin blushed, looking anywhere but at the teasing grey eyes, so like his prince’s and yet at the same time not, “He kissed me today.”

Isadore’s smile was suddenly not so bright nor so wide, and his eyes became critical as he looked over Aneurin’s shoulder and back toward the castle, high on the hill behind them. “Kissed you, has he? How very nice of him.”

“It was a very nice kiss,” Aneurin agreed, somewhat missing the sarcasm in Isadore’s voice, and ignoring the rest. He blushed harder, his pale cheeks almost as bright as the setting sun had been, and added, in a quieter voice, “And he has invited me to his chambers tonight.”

Isadore had no answer to that.

“He told me to come after the others had gone to bed tonight,” Aneurin was both happy and nervous about the invitation, and he had rather hoped to talk to Isadore about it. Now, however, he wasn’t sure that he could. He didn’t know what to say on any account.

“Three days, that must be some sort of record,” Isadore sneered, suddenly angry for some reason that he didn’t entirely understand himself, “Humans certainly move fast. Or, at least, this one does.”

“I-,” Aneurin began, but his protest was cut short by the reappearance of the shell, and his voice was once again stolen before he could say anything further.

“Three more days,” Isadore said without preamble, turning abruptly to dive back into the sea, suddenly tired of the stories of princes and two legged creatures that dwelt on land, “I shouldn’t wonder what the two of you can accomplish by then.”


The days passed quickly for Aneurin after that. Every third night he would meet with Isadore to get his potion, and every third night he would at last be able to speak again, telling the wizard of the wondrous world that he had become a part of. He would fling his arms around Isadore when first he caught sight of the man, for Aneurin began to miss him more and more when they were apart, and he would instantly begin an animated recounting of his days and nights at the castle. Isadore would listen, and smile at the enthusiasm of youth, and occasionally share a tale or two of his encounters with the land dwellers. However, when the talk turned to Prince Blair and Aneurin’s budding romance with the human man, Isadore would inevitably and abruptly end the conversation and dive back into the sea. The behavior confused Aneurin to no end, but at length he would forget about his friend’s odd behavior, for he had much to deal with in his quest to win the prince’s love and he did not have time to ponder the complex workings of a wizard’s mind.

After their first night together Aneurin had fast become the prince’s favorite companion, and Aneurin delighted in the prince’s affections, erotic or otherwise, but he was not completely content despite the attention. When they were together Aneurin felt as though he and his prince were truly meant to be together, so great was the passion between them, but he was not so certain that Blair felt the same way as he did.

Although he was obviously a favorite, something that was plain to see for everyone who knew them, he was not the prince’s only dalliance. The seemingly endless stream of pretty maidens and handsome knights that Aneurin had witnessed at the prince’s side when he had only watched from the shore the long year past still accompanied the prince on his nightly strolls to the shore, and often they returned with him to his chambers when the hour grew late. Aneurin was no fool, he knew what the humans did together behind closed doors, but always he comforted himself with the knowledge that he was surely the prince’s favorite.

On the nights when he was not immediately called for by his beloved Aneurin would wait, sometimes watching from his high tower window as his prince would leave the castle with his chosen ones, and he would wile away the long hours in anxious pacing or pointless attempts to distract himself and his troubled mind until they at last returned. Inevitably, however, there would come a knock at his bedroom door and a servant would call for him to follow. He would be left at his prince’s door, and with a smile of relief he would walk through the doorway and find his prince blessedly alone. One beckoning wave of a hand and he would be at his prince’s side, now familiar fingers carding through his hair, and he would hear whispered words that would instantly put his heart at ease, “There is none so sweet as you.”

Then, and only then, Aneurin would be content once again.


Soon it became spring and Aneurin realized that his three months were almost up. Aneurin had, at first, not worried when Isadore had given him such a time limit, for he had thought that with the intensity of his love for Prince Blair that surely it was Fate that had brought them together and that the human would feel the same way almost instantly. However, as the days passed and the season changed, Aneurin began to fear that his time may be too short. The prince adored him, of that he was certain, but he was not as certain that the prince would confess undying love any time soon.

It seemed, however, that his luck was not nearly so poor as he had feared, and on a day only a week shy of his deadline a great commotion overtook the castle. It seemed that the king and queen had at last grown tired of Prince Blair’s refusal to choose a mate, for they had presented to him many a beautiful princess or well-bred nobleman for his consideration and still they did not have cause to plan a royal wedding. They wanted only what was best for their darling son, for him to know the happiness that they themselves shared, and so they finally put before their child an ultimatum that was long in coming. Either he would choose a mate by the next full moon or they would choose one for him. Aneurin knew then that he had only to show his love more strongly for the prince and surely Blair would choose him, his parent’s urgings pushing Blair to confess what was surely already in his heart.

That night Aneurin slipped from the dinning room once again and skipped down to the shore, his spirits high and a smile firm upon muted lips.

“And what, I shudder to ask,” Isadore already had the enchanted shell held aloft when Aneurin appeared, “Has you in such a good mood tonight?”

“The royal parents want Blair to marry,” Aneurin told him as soon as he had voice to do it with, “There will be a wedding within the next month.”

“Well, it seems that the king and queen, at least, are on your side.”

“He hasn’t made a choice yet of whom he should marry,” Aneurin hung his head as he admitted this, “They simply want their son to be happy. They don’t really care who he picks.”

“Unless he’s a bigger fool than I’d first thought, we both know who he’ll pick.”

Aneurin thought that this must be, in some roundabout way, a complement.

“But he has a month to choose,” Aneurin voiced his fears for the first time, “And our bargain only has one week to go.”

“Come, I’m not so cruel as all that,” Isadore reached out one pale hand, tucking a finger under Aneurin’s chin and forcing him to meet his eyes, “I will extend our agreement until the wedding is decided. I fear that a ring on your finger is as close to a confession that we shall receive from your flippant little human, so should he propose I shall consider you the winner in all of this.”

Something about the way that Isadore worded his statement, even though he was kind enough to extend the terms of their contract, filled Aneurin with anger. Normally he would not have allowed himself to say anything, for Isadore often insulted Prince Blair for no reason that Aneurin could conceive of, but this time his mind was already filled with confusion and fear and he could not control himself any longer.

“Why must you always talk about him like that,” Aneurin shouted, pulling away from Isadore’s grip to glare at him with suddenly furious blue eyes that all but flashed with lightening, “He has always been kind and affectionate and good to me. He is a wonderful man and I love him with all of my heart. What would you know of him or of our relationship?!”

“I know that, should his heart really belong to you, I wouldn’t see him down on this shore with any number of pretty young things on an almost nightly basis,” Isadore shot back, no longer content to hold his tongue. “I know that he treats you like his favorite pet, not as his potential mate.”

“That’s not true,” Aneurin screamed, “As if you would know anything of love. You don’t know what we share. You’ve probably never cared about anyone or anything but yourself.”

The words stung, and Isadore answered without thinking, “Oh, but I know of the suffering that can be felt for a plight that is not your own. It earned me my banishment, after all.”

There it was, the one conversation that Aneurin had been afraid to begin, but one of the ones that he most wanted to have. Normally he would have shied away from the topic, even though Isadore had broached it, but not this day. Today his anger, his hurt and his pain, would not still his tongue or cause him to halt the others.

“What are you talking about,” he queried, still emboldened by his rage.

“It was before your time, so I wouldn’t expect you to know,” Isadore said, certain somewhere in the back of his mind that he ought to stop talking, but for some reason unknown to him he felt he could not rest until he’d set Aneurin straight. “But it seems I have a habit of liberating pretty young things from the sea. Long before you were born your father fell into the very same trap that you have, and he fell in love with a human woman. However, rather than sacrifice to be with her, our king asked me to make him a potion that would enable him to bring the girl down to his kingdom with him. She was nothing but a peasant, and he expected her to be grateful that she had captured the attentions of a king, but she was horrified by the very sight of him and begged to be free from the very moment she was taken beneath the water.”

Aneurin shook his head, color draining from his cheeks, unable to believe what was being said. But it seemed that he was not the only one who had become angry, and Isadore would not be silenced.

“Oh, but it’s true,” the wizard said, even as he watched Aneurin’s anger turn to fear and disbelief, “And no matter how she cried and begged your father would not set her free. She tried many times to escape, but every time that she made it to land she found herself unable to step upon the shore, and always your father’s soldiers would drag her back to our kingdom kicking and screaming. He finally had to build a cage to keep her in, and he had it placed beside his throne in the great audience hall, so that he could look upon her beauty at his leisure. I hear that he has matured since then, and this was a long time ago so perhaps he has, but at the time no council could convince him to let the pitiful thing go.”

“My father wouldn’t-“

Isadore went on as though he hadn’t heard the younger man’s plea.

“I was one of his top aides, and as such I had occasion to visit him every day, and so I could not help but see the girl as well. Whenever the king’s attention was elsewhere she would beg me to set her free. I was loyal to my king at first, but she was such a beautiful and tragic thing, and at length she wore me down. I could no longer stand to see her caged like some beast, and so I set her free. I gave her the potion that would reverse her condition and I took her back to the shore.”

“My father must have been furious.” It was not often that Aneurin had seen his father in a rage, but on those few occasions he had known true fear, for the king of the sea was a fearsome man indeed when angered. Aneurin could only imagine what he had been like when he’d found out that Isadore had set his treasure loose.

“He was in a fury,” Isadore confirmed. “No one had ever seen him so livid.”

“And then he banished you,” Aneurin guessed.

“And then he banished me,” Isadore admitted bitterly, “My very name has been a forbidden curse from that day onwards.”

Aneurin was speechless. What he had said to Isadore had been cruel, he had only said what he had because the other man had wounded his heart and touched far too closely on his fears, and now he regretted it immensely. Especially after hearing the truth behind the wizard’s banishment. He wondered how, after all that his family had done to the wizard, he had still found it in his heart to help Aneurin when he had come to him begging assistance. He was not entirely certain that he would have been able to do the same were their situations reversed. However, even knowing how wrong he had been, Aneurin did not know what to say to make the hurt better. The words simply would not come. And then Isadore lifted the shell aloft again and there was no longer any chance of apologizing.

“He’ll certainly never forgive me now,” Isadore said quietly into the silence that had fallen between them. Then, louder and with a false cheerfulness that he certainly did not feel, he turned towards the sea and waved to a still silent Aneurin as he parted. “Enjoy your quest for the prince’s heart, young one. While it lasts.”


The days passed quickly after that. The castle was filled with activity and life, for word had spread quickly that the prince would at last marry, and so potential suitors came from far and wide to court Prince Blair. Aneurin, for all his jealousy, was enthralled by the beauty that soon surrounded them, every bit as opulent and decadent as anything that he had ever seen in one of his father’s ballrooms, and he spent the next days in a whirlwind of new experiences and great excitement.

The prince entertained many beautiful men and women over the next weeks, but none stayed by his side for long, and always Aneurin was there when Blair no longer had need of the newcomers. He should have been happy. However, Aneurin could not truly enjoy the seeming success of his romantic endeavors, for his mind was not always on the land. He had not seen Isadore even once since their fight.

The first time that Aneurin went for his regular dose of potion he found, instead of the wizard, an enchanted conch shell was waiting for him. The bottle that the draught was usually found in was nestled safely within the shell, and when no amount of searching revealed Isadore’s now familiar and longed for visage, Aneurin sighed and drank the potion with a heavy heart. When three more days passed Aneurin had once again returned to the shore, and once again he had found only the shell where he had hoped to find his friend, and the same was true three days past as well. Soon Aneurin despaired at never seeing Isadore again.

In a heartbeat it was nearly the full moon and Aneurin went to the shore to pick up the last of his potions. He returned quickly to the castle when he found that Isadore was, predictably, not there. It was late by the time that he returned, and as he made his way dejectedly towards his rooms he was stopped by a servant and directed towards his beloved prince’s suite instead.

Prince Blair was alone, and Aneurin went to his side in an instant when an elegant hand gestured for him, grateful to be alone with his prince at last. As the full moon grew nearer his suitors had become more and more insistent, aggressive even, and their time together had been short as of late. This was, Aneurin told himself, just what he needed.

Aneurin curled up at his prince’s side upon the bed, a contented expression on his beatific face, as Blair’s hand went almost by instinct to burry itself in the strawberry locks of Aneurin’s long hair. Prince Blair sighed contentedly as Aneurin snuggled closer, petting his muted companion’s hair in a now familiar gesture.

“I’m positively worn out,” the prince groaned. “They all want my attention, yet there is only one of me. Whatever were Mother and Father thinking, throwing me to the wolves like this?”

Aneurin chuckled silently, knowing that Blair was every bit as amused as he was exasperated. He was luxuriating in the attention, and they both knew it.

“Princess Grace cornered me in the stables right after breakfast,” he smiled at the memory, certain there must still be hay stuck somewhere in his dark hair waiting to be plucked out, “Lord Montague challenged me to a very engaging sparing match this afternoon, the captain of the guard has taken to flirting with me, and Lady Noel has hardly let me out of her sight all day.”

None of this had gone unnoticed by Aneurin. How could it have?

Then, smiling down at the man curled at his side, he said in a fond tone, “But there is none so sweet as you.”

But sweet was not what Aneurin heard, and he suddenly knew, with unerring certainty, that it was not what Blair meant either. There is none so sweet as you meant, in reality, there is none so quiet as you, none so docile as you, none so obedient as you. And those were things that Aneurin had never been before. Although he’d once been sweet and kind, a good son and brother, he had also been full of curiosity and fire and passion. The last time that he had felt passion had been when he’d been screaming at Isadore down on the shore weeks ago.

That was when Aneurin knew for certain that he was in love. He just wasn’t in love with the prince.


Aneurin wasted no time once his mind, or more precisely his heart, was made up. He had hesitated in taking the final potion that Isadore had left for him, and now perhaps he knew why, and so he could already feel the magicks that had first changed him now trying to force him back to his original form. As he raced down to the shore, shedding his human clothes as he went, he ceased to fight the magicks and let the change begin. By the time that he touched the water his naked flesh was already beginning to sparkle as his azure scales returned to him, and when he had swam out far enough to begin the dive below the surface of the water that would return him home he was kicking out with not two human legs but with one great fin… and he had not felt more right in his own skin in nearly three months.

Aneurin did not even spare a glance back towards the castle as he at last dove beneath the water, for he knew that he had never belonged there and that the brief stay there had been nothing but a child’s fantasy, a walking daydream that he hadn’t really wanted to be real, and he could not feel regret as he left that life behind him.

He swam for what felt like hours, smiling brightly as he saw once familiar sights again with fresh eyes, and at last he found himself at the once foreboding path that led to Isadore’s grotto. This time, however, unlike the last, he did not hesitate or enter the sea of writhing tentacle-like plants with fear or trepidation. No, this time he dove right in to the mass of vines and propelled himself forward as fast as he could, for he was eager for what awaited him at the other end.

Just as he had not hesitated at the beginning of the path, Aneurin did not halt when he reached the mouth of the cave, nor did he pause for even a heartbeat at the many twists and turns that made up the maze of the wizard’s home. He pushed himself to go faster and faster until, at long last, he saw the haunting glow that signaled he had at last reached his destination. Isadore’s inner sanctum.

The wizard’s head jerked up when Aneurin entered, dark grey hair whipping about his face, long strands floating about his head as they took their time settling in the water. His eyes widened almost comically when he saw the young sea prince blocking the opening to the room. It was the first time that Aneurin had ever seen Isadore taken off guard.

“What are you doing here,” he said when at last he’d found his voice and recovered some of his wits, “Shouldn’t you be up there, with him?”

Aneurin shook his head vigorously.

“Did you two have a fight?” Isadore guessed.

Again, Aneurin shook his head, this time even more vigorously.

“Did one of his suitors push you out of the way?”

Once more a vigorous shake of the head.

“Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look when you do that?”

Isadore didn’t wait for an answer, reaching up to a shelf above his head to pull down the shell that held Aneurin’s voice, but he quickly found that Aneurin was not content to wait either. The younger of the two men shot forward with lightening fast speed, all but flinging himself at the wizard, and soon his lips were upon the older man’s.

That was the moment that Aneurin knew for certain that what he had shared with Prince Blair had not been real, but just an infatuation with the exotic world above, for when he had kissed the prince it had felt nothing like what he now felt. This, he knew, was real.

“I love you.” Those were the first words that passed his lips when the shell released his voice and he released Isadore. They were words that he was not at all certain now that he ever could have said to his human prince.

“What,” Isadore, normally so very much in control, was still at a loss. He was able to admit to himself that, deep down, he had longed for this very moment ever since Aneurin had first ventured into his abode, but now that it was happening he really didn’t know what to do. It was all very sudden. “What’s gotten into you?”

“I love you,” Aneurin repeated, “I was a fool to think that I could be happy with the prince, I know that now. But I am grateful to him. Without him I never would have found you, so perhaps I was right that Fate brought me to the shore that night, but not to fall in love with a human. I’m just happy to have figured it all out before it was too late. Can you ever forgive me?”

This had all been said in a rush, no breath between the words or sentences, and it did nothing to give Isadore piece of mind. Aneurin sounded so sure of himself, more so even than when he had first spoken to the wizard of his love for the human prince, but he had to wonder what had suddenly changed the boy’s mind so completely. He had not thought Aneurin to be the fickle sort.

“When, exactly, did you take leave of your senses,” Isadore forced himself to say, even though he wanted desperately to take him at his word, to wrap the young merman in his arms and never let him go. He had fought his own desires the whole while, even as he worked to win Aneurin the heart of another when he had already captured his own, but now that he had everything that he wanted right in front of him he was afraid to take it at face value. He had closed off his heart long ago, resigned to a life of loneliness, forever cut off from his people and the kingdom that he had once been a part of. And now this? “First you love your human enough to give up your voice, your freedom, your home, your family, and your birthright, and now you want me? You’re either mad or you’re a liar.”

Aneurin’s face fell when he heard this, but he could see the war raging within the wizard’s heart clearly in the dark depths of his eyes, and he silently rejoiced. Besides, he had not come so far unprepared. He’d expected such an argument and he was ready for it. He knew how it must look, but he also knew that he had not made the same mistake twice and that this time he was following his heart’s true desire.

“I am young, and never have I known the excitement, the rush and all consuming heat, of love and I was confused. I’ve always been kept, sheltered, and in the prince I saw something of an escape from all of that. Someone who could love me for who I am, not for my position or what I could do for them,” Aneurin confessed, “But I know that what I felt for him wasn’t real, or at least it wasn’t the sort of love that I want or need. What I felt for him was something that crashed into me like a great wave, tearing me apart and sweeping me away with utter abandon, but it wasn’t real. What I feel for you has drowned me just as surely, but it came on slowly like the coming of the tides and swept me away, all for the better. It gave me the time to learn the truth, to learn what my heart needed and what I truly wanted. I love you, and I want nothing more than to stay at your side, always. If you’ll have me.”

It was the last that did him in, and despite his misgivings and his fear that this was all just some sick joke, or the confusion of a young mind, or even a dream that would soon become a nightmare, Isadore knew that he was lost. And he was glad to be so.


Word soon reached the sea king’s ears that his wayward son had returned to them. Even though he had been the one to exile the wizard so very long ago King Tertius went personally to the wizard’s liar to fetch Aneurin home. When he saw that the young prince would not be parted from Isadore he did what he knew was right, sitting down to drinks with the two lovers and hearing them out, and after a prolonged night of insightful conversation, apologies given and received by all, Isadore’s long banishment at last came to an end. Both Isadore and Aneurin were welcomed with open arms back into the castle, where neither should ever have left. Isadore’s name was no longer forbidden and he was returned to his post as chief mystical advisor to the king, Aneurin’s trip to the shore was forgiven as the curiosity of youth gone awry, and soon a royal wedding was in the works. The king and his kingdom were once again harmonious and happy.

Aneurin was soon caught up in palace life once again, and this time in his own home rather than that of another prince, and his love for Isadore erased all but the strongest and fondest of his memories of Blair. He thought of the handsome human on occasion, as first loves are not so easily forgotten, but he did not long for the shore, nor did he return there to look upon the prince ever again. He was, of course, somewhat curious as to whom the prince had chosen to wed, as was Isadore in fact, but neither made the trip from the water to see the wedding. They were, after all, far too contented in their new life together to worry about the affairs of far off kingdoms.

All was as it should be.


In the end Aneurin realized that he had learned many things in such a short time. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, even if it is a matter of grass on the land and kelp in the sea, with only a shore between them. Love at first sight is every bit as romantic as it sounds, but the slow decent of the heart towards devotion born of real understanding is, by far, much more satisfying and true. But, most importantly of all, Aneurin had learned that happily ever after didn’t come easily and destiny is often found in the most unlikely of places.

The End


~~~~~~~~ Back to The Little Mermaid ~~~~~~~~



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