A Rising Wave
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Greek fire burns under the sea, and so did the woman. Not truly, of course, not literally, but there was fire in her eyes as she danced an impossible underwater dance. Above her the ships were passing by.

She did not approve of these ships. They were new, modern, metal things and she had dwelt below for so long that when last she stood on land not one country had had the borders it did now, nor the name, nor the culture. There had been gods in those days. Now there was only the metal. Even the forge-gods had lost to their own creations.

Another ship bearing foul oils and self-satisfied men with no knowledge of the old maritime culture was passing overhead. The woman hated them, those men. Not so long ago her song had mingled with the sailors' shanties at least, some small connection with the upper world. These ones did not sing and did not laugh, but the oil and the iron kept her rage at bay.


Uncountable days passed much the same. Slowly the seas became less and less alive, the water itself hotter. In a winter warmer than summers had once been she took up once more her ancient weapons, her nets and her spears and stepped back onto shore for the first time since before the fall of Rome.

The heat burned, the iron burned and the air burned, yet she persevered. The people of the air gaped at her in disbelief, at her shark teeth and her gently waving hair. She paid no attention to them, all her focus bent on her task; she pulled the sea up behind her.

It was slow, hard work. The water preferred to obey the laws of physics, as it had done for years, and reminding it of the magical days was the easy part. The ocean was heavy; even working mythically, dragging it ashore took all the power she had saved in the long years since the gods fell silent. Had not Thor failed to drink the ocean in his prime? Had it not been a labor of Heracles to move a river? Yet it was working. The water level was rising at every step she took, directing the brunt of its anger at factories and governments, gently cradling children and animals, shielding her from harm.

How it weighed on her! She stumbled often, but rose again each time. Panicking mortals shot at her, which she feared not, and cursed her, which she very much did. She knew what curses could do (remember Scylla!) but the strength of curses had long since faded as oaths and swearing became nothing more than words. Yet still she continued, her heart lightening even as the burden grew heavier. There was more ocean to carry now, more and more as she carried it up the slopes of mountains.


It was a beautiful morning as she sat atop Everest, the ocean at her feet. An otter was playing next to her. Somewhere in the distance a fleet of rafts was bobbing gently on the waves.

"Well," she said, "I suppose that's the washing up done."

Then she picked up the ocean one last time, threw it down the mountainside and dove after it. The otter followed.

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