They say that full fathom five a goddess lies, in a shark-bit sepulchre worn by waves.
They say that she hangs in chains there, locked away in the deepest of dungeons.
They say she waits, for something.
And they are right.
The crown prince was thrown, amulet of office and all, over the cliff and down
To find his own way back from the storm-tossed sea. He did not find his way back,
In the end, but his way forward.
He was dragged down to the darkest depths, where the sun does not deign to light,
Anyone’s way, but leaves that duty to the things better suited to it.
The Amulet his father gave him, to be passed on to his queen when he was a man grown,
Was stolen away from him to lie amongst pearls, another sunken treasure.
When he found air and light again he was amid candles and stained glass, and the
Soft clanking of thin chains.
His amulet lay on the stone before him, and when he snatched it up he found himself
Staring into eyes like bubbles of jet, over rough coral lips and a jagged shark’s teeth grin.
There she knelt, chained in her own temple. The Nameless Queen, cast from heaven,
Her name never to be spoken, not after her little war so shook the earth.
“What do you seek?” she said, in a voice like clacking shells. “What sad pilgrim makes
visitation here? There are no gods this deep save those pulled apart by crabs.”
“I seek my birthright,” he said, clutching his amulet so hard his hand bled. “My kingdom.”
“What would you give for it?”
“Anything.” He grasped the necklace. Responding to his unspoken resolve, the chain slid open.
“Then give me your hand. Slip it through my chains, and be bound here with me. Give me
The life taken, the soul stolen. Give me the love, fill the void that binds me here.And so bind the
The amulet wound over her chains, dangling around her neck. “What will I call you, my lady?”
“A man might call his lady love, he might call her his sweetest dove, but I…I was called…I was called
harpy and I was called whore, I was called to by sailors who yearned for the shore…I was called
by the hermits who prayed themselves mine, but now you shall call me, I shall be…Undine.”
The temple shook. The windows broke, and water poured in in torrents.
“What would you have of me, my lord husband?”
“A riot, first. A rebellion. A war. A conquest.” said the prince, as water lapped at his ankles.
by Thomas Boyle
(prompts: riot, necklace, sunken temple)