A work-in-progress, the following piece is a writing assignment produced for The Center of Fiction’s Active Storytelling course taught by Judy Sternlight.
A Sense of Place: Plover of the Gods
prepared by Andrea Preziotti
Note I’ve purposely used Roman and Greek names for each god, interchangeably. (Triton, Ceres/Demeter, Neptune/Poseidon, etc.)
“Triton, come sit by me,” Ceres said as she lay down on the wet sand.
“Now? We’ve only just arrived. The others will be here soon,” the demigod responded. “We must prepare for their arrival.”
He was restless, thrashing his tail on the shoreline, crushing everything in his wake. The seashells turned to dust, and the seabirds knew better than to fly overhead. Deep in thought, Triton waded further out into the ocean, a storm cloud hovering. His brow furrowed. Lightning flashed in the sky unmasking the emotion on his face.
Ceres watched him sail from wave to wave.
“Triton, please calm down, and come sit by me,” Ceres repeated louder. The kelp awakened with her words and unfurled its long, leathery laminae.
The message from Poseidon had been clear: release the merfolk into all waterways of Earth. Triton nearly balked at the request. All of his 6000 children dispatched beyond the sea into unchartered waters oversaw by humans.
Ceres understood the bleakness of his task. Her daughter Persephone had been forced to live with Pluto in the underworld.
“Ceres, what am I to do? I cannot go against Father, and yet, I cannot watch all my children perish,” bemoaned Triton. The world saw him as a tyrant of the sea, Poseidon’s herald but Ceres knew her nephew was none of those things. He was more compassionate than any demigod worth their weight in salt as long as he was not pushed.
She had meant to ease his pain with news from the natural world but still, his quiet rage simmered. The nearby plovers, blended into the scenery preoccupied with worm hunting.
Ceres dug her hands into the sand and listened to the surf before answering.
“Triton what if you could join your children on their journey, guide them through the waterways? It has been done before, the act of taking human form, I could help you.”
He raised his eyes then, a film lifting as he cocked his head to the left.
“I am immortal,” Triton said in a low, guttural murmur. The kelp sensed his intention, weaving its vines around his torso. Triton’s scales turned into human skin, the closer he got to the sandy shores, his fins took the shape of feet. He extended his hand to Ceres, pulling her into an embrace.
Word Count: 384