"Boats are on the way. The humans are coming to clean up their mess. We must leave," Lomar was telling Selyra's father. "They will dive to recover their wreckage and bodies. I don't know how deep or how far, but we are no longer safe here."
Selyra approached the people, staying a safe distance from her father. Her sister Rinell noticed her. "Where have you been, Selyra? The minute the explosions were foreseen, I started looking for you. Tell me my visions are not true."
Selyra watched the commotion of the gathering people, not meeting Rinell's eyes. "Have you told father?"
"It is not my truth to tell. What were you thinking? What were you planning to do once you saved his life? Bring him along? Run away with him? How could you do this to the people?"
Selyra flinched as the reprimands washed over her. She deserved them, and worse. The image of Todd, bleeding, drowning, came back to her. She had no logical explanation for why she had to save him. "I just had to."
Rinell came close, her orange scales glittering, her silver eyes serious. "Selyra, your destiny flows like a rushing river. Your path is not clear. You did not have to save the human. Why did you do it?"
"What do you know? Nobody knows my path yet verybody tells me what I should do and not do... I saw his eyes. I felt his skin burning. It reminded me of..." Selyra could not finish. Images of fire and water and smoke burned in her vision.
Rinell's webbed hand reached out to touch Selyra's face. Rinell didn't understand, but she felt compelled to help her sister. Flowing through the touch, Rinell saw the man, felt Selyra's confusion and compassion. The emotions were so strong, they tingled in Rinell's fingers. There was something powerful in this man, or in the connection between him and Selyra. Rinell drew back in surprise.
Just then, Lomar swam towards them. "It's time to leave, before the humans come this way. Or before the young daughters become curious." He looked at their faces and saw something was wrong. He looked at Selyra, his golden eyes locked on hers. "What's going on?"
Selyra's eyes widened. Lomar had been paying particular attention to her lately, a sign that he wished to choose her as his mate. She should be honoured, to be chosen among the many daughters by one of the only remaining sons. Her father also respected Lomar, and wished the union to happen. Lomar was the strongest of the sons, and his visions were often true, but he enjoyed being in control, and Selyra did not trust him. He would not understand her need to save Todd. She drew back so he would not feel her emotions, wishing she could hide them, but she suddenly knew he would figure it out. He would be jealous. How could she stop him from...?
"I just brought him back to land. He thought he was dreaming."
"Him?" Lomar grabbed her wrist, and she felt her memories enter his mind, felt him react in anger. His green-gold scales flashed as he tensed. "What have you done?"
He was jealous, and angry. But what scared Selyra more was the way he looked at her now - like a traitor. She tried to salvage his compassion, drawing on his affection for her, hoping to save the human from Lomar's rage. "I had a vision of his suffering. I did not think he would live. I should not have acted so rashly, Lomar."
Lomar's eyes were cold. Her apology had no effect. "You've endangered us all. I will forgive you, but there is only one way to preserve our people. No human can see us and live."
"He is not dangerous!"
"They are all the same, Selyra."
Selyra saw a vision of Lomar's hand striking her chest, injuring her gills. Anything she said to him would only aggravate him. She must leave. "I'm sorry," she said quietly, and swam away from him, away from the group, away from the beach where she had left the human. Rinell followed her.
Lomar gave a merman's roar and a powerful flip of his tail, vanishing in a current of rage, on a mission to kill the human that compromised his people before it was too late.
Selyra swam to the surface, breaking into the cold air as if it could numb her sadness. Rinell waited until she sank back down to speak. "Lomar risks his own life to fix your mistake. If he is killed, our people have little chance of survival."
Selyra felt the added weight of this burden. The Great Fire had resulted in the death of over half of the Sea People, most of them young sons. The mermen that were left, such as her father, were no longer able to procreate due to genetic mutations that caused the young to die before they were born. Many people had hoped that Lomar would be unaffected by the mutation, being young and strong, that he would be able to save the People from certain extinction.
"I cannot stop him."
"You can kill the human."