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Synopsis: Selinne is an unpolished and willful mermaid--naive of the horrors that abound in the greater depths of the sea. As she is faced with dragons, a brutal Litiant warlord, and forbidden love, Selinne must learn what it takes to be her own champion.
“They are here for mermaids,” he said, avoiding her worried eyes. “They have all of the treasure and land they want. They are here for you—for Lucia—for all of you.”
“Surely there are mermaids in their own clan. Why come here for mates? What could they possibly want from us? What exactly are you saying?”
Aramis was known for his lighthearted pranks. Selinne searched his face for any hint that he was playing a cruel joke. His smoky eyes were unflinching as he stared back at her.
“They are not coming for mates,” he said. “They know about our rays. We are the only clan left where mermaids are born with healing magic. Now that they lay claim to most of the sea, they want an invincible army. If they can mend their soldiers as they please, they would never have to worry about fatal battle wounds. And besides their search for Adessia’s ring, what else is there left for the Litiants to fight over? It isn’t our territory or our hunting grounds. In this ocean they already have bragging rights. If they leave here with even a few of you, they could become indestructible.”
He pulled at the charms on her bracelet, waiting for her to take in the truth. She let his fingers hold to the shells and stones, unsure of what she should even say. She did not keep close confidence with any of the mermaids. Aramis and Bayren were the closest Merminians she had to call friends. Her clan was going into a battle with a formidable enemy who meant to get what they set out for. The revelation of what the Litiants wanted made her feel as if she was a plunging anchor with nothing to cushion the fall.
“A mermaid’s rays are her own gift to give,” she said in a dismayed whisper. “I have never known any dying merman to be selfish enough to demand that he be healed—not at the risk of draining a mermaid of her life.”
“They are not mermen, Selinne. They care nothing about protecting mermaids—especially not Merminians. They are vain, uncaring monsters. Dignity means nothing to them. That is why they always win.”
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