LS7 – Atargatis and Pressyne

“She’s made shore again.” Atargatis turned to her companion, copper curls spilling over her shoulder with a liquid motion.

“How do you know?” asked Pressyne.

“A Guardian has identified her. The Western shores. Oregon.”

“She’s always been rebellious,” Pressyne looked up from her close study of the reflecting mirror. Her caramel eyes were shot through with golden sparks.

“She’s your daughter,” Atargatis stared pointedly at Pressyne. Pressyne did not flinch as the comment hit its mark.

“You expect anything less? She’s your granddaughter. It seems it runs in the family.”

Atargatis paced, pensive. It was not as if her clan were the only ones to occasionally make shore. Stories and legends always have a basis in reality — and stories of the clans existed worldwide. But three women, in three generations? It was no wonder her family had attracted some attention.

“I’ve got to figure out a way to stop her again. She’ll find what she’s looking for… she always does… and then we will intervene, just as we have in the past.” Atargatis paused in her pacing, crossing to Pressyne. She put her arms around the younger woman. “It has to be this way. It’s the only way we can keep her safe.”

“I know,” Pressyne sighed. “But sometimes I wish it were different. I wish she could find happiness.”

“Is she not happy here with us? Is not her every need provided for? To make shore is to tempt fate, to risk the notice of the other clans.” Atargatis made a quick calculation. “This is the fifth time she has engaged in this folly. It will be hard to mask her trail.”

“She loves him,” Pressyne responded simply. “It is not folly. He pulls her to him, like a lodestone. You know the nature of our curse.”

“All too well.” Atargatis stalked from the room.

Pressyne returned her attention to the reflecting mirror. The silver mirror was ancient; rumor was that it had belonged to the three-times great grandmother of Atargatis, long gone from memory. Pearls crusted the oval frame of the mirror, spilling from sculpted seashells. The back side of the mirror was covered with constellations and indecipherable writing, miniature seed pearls studding its engraved sky like distant stars. The front side of the mirror was a contradiction, for its cloudy surface reflected nothing of the world around it. It did, however, reflect something else. Another world… the world above… the world of the shores.

Pressyne closed her eyes and concentrated: “Show me my daughter.”

Mists swirled across the surface of the mirror. Pressyne knew that although sometimes the mirror cooperated, oftentimes it did not. Its inner workings were a mystery. She opened her eyes and looked in the proper manner for scrying the mirror, as if looking through a window at some distant scene. A single tear escaped as the image of her beloved daughter came into focus. If her daughter was appearing in the mirror, it truly meant she was walking on the world of the shores.

Her daughter was talking with a man. No, not a man — a Guardian — for he was wearing the mark. Her lips moved: Then tell her I am looking for him. And when I find him, it will be different this time. This time I will not fail. Pressyne shuddered as she backed away from the scene. Atargatis was right to be worried.

“Goddess help us,” Pressyne muttered, to no one in particular. The words were empty, although the fear in her heart felt like lead. Pressyne no longer believed that the Great Sea Goddess cared about her clan.

Ironically, caught between her headstrong mother and equally headstrong daughter, she felt very alone.


The above post is a beta excerpt from an ongoing novel-in-progress tentatively titled “The Curious Tale of Lorelei Strange”. To read all related posts, click on the associated category. All post titles in this series contain numeric labels so that you may read the story in consecutive order (i.e., LS1 is the first installment, LS2 the second, etc.). ©Awen Blackbird/Jamie Waggoner, all rights reserved. Featured photo credit: Issara Willenskomer via Unsplash.

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