It was a foolish name for them, though he understood why humans called them that. He didn’t doubt that the sirens singing their lonely songs among the rocks earned themselves the same label. Humans didn’t always understand things that were different, and they couldn’t relate to his people. Not that he would correct them; his kind had no name for themselves. And the longer he was out of the sea, the more he thought the label might fit.
The ocean lapped at his bare feet, beckoning him, calling him home. The gills on the sides of his neck had been dry so long they barely showed, folded closed, leaving little more than shadowed lines on his cyan skin. He longed for the water, for the tropical currents and blessed warmth of aquatic vents. He’d been on land too long to venture into cooler waters, his layer of insulating fat dwindled to nothing.
It was just one of many trade-offs he’d needed to survive.
Foam clung to his toes, whispering promises of freedom in the sea. He ignored it; there was nothing for him there. Not now. He’d not regained his strength, nor had he grown used to the itching of the leather patch where his left eye used to be. He’d told his host little of his life before, only that he’d been betrayed. The man praised him for waiting to exact revenge, muttering one of those odd human sayings about cold food. But years flowed differently for those with magic, and Elulyan did not wait.
He cloaked himself in magic during the day, hiding his brilliantly blue flesh and one crimson eye, but he did not wait. He was weakened without the power of his Overseer to feed upon, but he was coming into his own power; in time, it would be enough.
But he did not wait.
He worked, growing stronger, making allies, making plans. He studied, scouring the Great Coast for every sliver of information that could bring his Overseer to ruin. And every night, he stood at the sea, watching the waves and burning with resentment for the tight scars that lined his fingers, where the Overseer had cut away the webbing that let him swim.
The sound of the ocean shifted now, the song of the waves becoming mockery. Clenching his fists, Elulyan turned away from the surf, shutting out the sweet melody of the sirens that still drifted to the shore.
In time, he would be well.
And then he’d teach his people what the name demon meant.
This week’s prompt was “How They Relate to Their Race.”
The lovely Megan Cutler addressed this prompt back in September. Check it out!