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The Eyes In The Woods

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Calder admires his new skin, especially his long flowing tail. It stretches longer than the typical mermaid myths, reaching out to a tapered end and continues for another foot in a thin connection until his tail fin. He wiggles it experimentally, and it flashes fast, shooting him off backwards. Calder bumps into a huge boulder and all of his breath disappears. Grunting, he moves again, but this time trying to feel the muscles and moving each one individually. He moves forward gently, and notices more fins hanging at his hips. Choking out a gasp, he realizes that he is shirtless…and technically naked.

Calder sputters and laughs harshly at his situation, completely forgetting how he looks nearly nothing like his previous form. He is a mermaid. A merman? A sea creature? He doesn’t have gills, no claws or fangs. But he has a tail, webbed fingers, fins for ears, and tattoos littering his midsection and arms. Caught up in his own fascination, he completely and utterly forgets about his friends. And all at once he remembers them, floating out in the middle of nowhere with very little protection.
Shaking his head, he flips his tail one more time, shooting off into the water. Admiring its power and finesse, he moves once up, and once down. His face breaks off into a wide smile and he continues its movement. He shoots off just as far as he would if he were using his powers. The young man decides to continue without the additional boost and simply enjoy the journey. He can feel his friends through the water, sitting still in the depths of the ocean and bobbing aimlessly a few feet to and fro. Nodding, he twirls through the water like a dancer, much like when he was performing his final transformation symbol.

He makes a chuffing sound and sends vibrations out through the water, attempting to listen and pinpoint where his friends have drifted off. Calder finds them between two reefs, the live plants curling over them like a protective dome. A flicker of confusion passes through his mind, knowing that he didn’t order them to do this. As he approaches, the reefs slowly recede and it comes to him that the ocean recognized them as the other Elements and wanted to protect them.

He lets out a sigh of relief; the urge to protect his friends comes on stronger than ever as he moves through the waves. Without the final transformation they are powerful, but the pieces of their soul aren’t as closely intertwined as they could be. Now that he has transformed he feels so much stronger.

The waves above them are calm in a perfect orb while the waves surrounding that part are choppy and harsh. Light filters around them, twinkling and shining through the odd water. Calder hangs back from his friends, exploring more of his newly connected soul. And with a heartened exclaim, he notices that Leith is awake. She is panicking, looking around at her fallen friends. Her claws scrabble against the floor of the tree house and she leaps from one piece of furniture from another.

As relieved as the sea lord is that his friend is awake, alive and well; he can’t help but panic a little himself. He can feel everything through his bobcat friend and can’t stand to know that she is so distraught and afraid. With a deep breath and a freakish amount of concentration he is able to connect with Leith, transmitting to her what has happened. He speaks slowly, calming her down moment by moment. Calder waits for a reply and soon notices that this is a one-way connection. He can talk to her and know what she is thinking but she can only speak back by using actions that he can “see” her doing.

He sends that everything will be okay, that she should calm down and he will check on her again soon. She makes a sort of nodding movement and Calder lets out a little sigh, everything seeming to be in order. He flicks his new bodily appendage and floats gently through the water to his friends. Lur is the first to notice him and her eyes blow wide, her air bubble fluctuating with her panicky breaths. She grabs Makan’s arm by instant and yanks her closer to her, pulling the tall and lanky girl around to see what she is seeing. Makan has a close reaction to Lur, letting out a small squeak and backing up a few feet. Enya on the other hand, falls still. He gaps, his cool guy façade completely shattering in confusion. After a moment of silence, he begins to laugh. It’s a loud, snorting laugh. His face is broken into a wide grin and his laughter is dancing off of the rifts surrounding them.

Calder was first elated at his friends’ responses, soaking in the shock at his transformation but after Enya begins to chortle his face falls. He rubs his shoulder self-consciously and mumbles something under his breath. His tail moves gently back and forth in the water and flicks irritatedly, almost like a cat’s tail.

“What! What is so funny!” The sea lord’s eyes flash in the light twinkling down from above the ocean. His teeth clench in the slightest and the water churns around him.

“It’s ridiculous! You’re a merman! No, a mermaid! You’re like a damn fairy.” He senses the change for a fight and his smile becomes wicked. His hands lay flat against his side and the water heats up around him.

“Excuse you! I’m the one who’s actually tried! You care for no one but yourself! You’re just a stupid street kid!” But the moment Calder finishes his sentence he slaps his hand over his mouth, letting in a gasp. He knows what he said was too far and he begins to back away from his friends.

Enya’s face goes slack. All expressions, all emotions, everything that makes his vessel even slightly human vanishes. His eyes glow eerily and he pinpoints on Calder. The water around them feels more like lava second by second and the two girls back up, separately themselves and severing their breathing connection from him.

The fire king and the sea lord face off, hot against cool, fire against water. Calder lets out a resigned sigh, realizing that he messed up and he is going to have to face Enya’s wrath. He stops moving, his tail flicking back and forth in the water to keep him upright. Chilling the water around him, he tries to prepare himself for his companion’s onslaught.

Enya lets out a vicious hiss, flinging his hands out to his side, his fists balling. The water begins to bubble and boil violently, the water thinning and raising up, evaporating in the midst of this angry beast. He continues to move towards Calder, his body leaning forward into the remaining air and using it as a propeller. The sea lord winces at the aggression of his friend but he knows that no matter his rage, he is not a challenge. He is connected to every aspect of himself and there is no more building his power. He has access to every fiber of power he posses and it far surpasses Enya’s.

But his friend does not know that, he only knows he is furious, angry at Calder for bringing up his past. He knows he may not truly be this person that he only has to live his life in order to have a vessel. Yet, it is his life. He knows that those things did happen to him, even if it does not actually halt his ability to everything,

And suddenly, he stops. Enya is caught into his mind, reliving every single one of his past lives. Almost none of them are better than his current. All of them he is in pain, furious, trying to escape his past. And he is furious. His body begins to quite literally vibrate as he delves further and further into his mind. His teeth grit and his fists clench and the very air and water around them seem to tremble in fear.

Lur and Makan back up further and further until their backs are against a wall of coral. Their hands grasp for each other and they cling; creating an orb of air and sand around them. Deep into a primal part of their souls, they can feel Enya screaming. His is opening his very heart and they know he is going to explode.

Calder knows it too. He is trying to reach out to his friend, he is trying to help his companion. He knows he is not really mad at him; at least not anymore. His eyes grow sad and he actually moves to come closer to Enya.

In the past few minutes, Enya’s head has fallen. His eyes are closed and his hands dropped to hang at his sides. He is floating straight up as if he was standing limply on actual land. He was quiet, but crying; his tears melding into the rest of the water around him. But Calder made a mistake.

The fire king raises his head in a flash, his teeth bared and gritting. Now his friends can see his tears truly falling down his face. His eyes open and are red one more, swimming with the colors of fire and raging. He looks as if he is the physical representation of pain.

And all at once, he breaks.
“IT’S NOT FAIR!” He screams, and his voice rings out across the world. His hands go straight out in front of him and he whips them back, as if he was ripping something. And suddenly, the earth breaks along with him. The sea floor cracks and rips at the seams, lining up with Enya’s hand movements. He falls forward as lava breaks the surface and pools around his feet.

Calder screams in return, acting as if he was in actual pain. Part of his land, his water, his being, is now destroyed. He doesn’t understand what his going on and he whips his tail, swimming over to his now cowering friends. He floats in front of Lur and Makan, creating a hardened wall of water in front of them, much like the sand and air orb.

But Enya does not react. His face goes slack and he stares into the lava, which is quickly hardening, as if it is speaking to him. Drifting forward, he gets closer and closer to the hot mass of molten Earth. And with a final intake of his breath, he touches it.
He is completely unlike Calder. He is fire, the king, the lord, the complete master of fire, lava, magma, and the fury that builds beneath the surface of human beings. Anger and rage makes up his very soul, the grinding of teeth as people bite back harmful words and cruel actions. And Calder is water. He is the lord of the sea, the calm in the world of chaos. He is the ponds and rivers and gentleness. He contains harshness but others always unleash it; it is never by his own hand.

If someone were to ask the elements in a few days time what had happened at that moment, only Enya would be able to explain. And even his explanation could not describe everything.

In a heart of the heart, Enya was sucked into the hot abyss of lava boiling on the seafloor. Calder was thrown backwards against the coral wall, smooshing the girls behind him. The breath is knocked out of them but really; their eyes were locked onto the event unfolding in front of them. Minutes passed of staring blankly into the glowing red mass of Earth. It seems like nothing was going on at all, and Lur tried to feel if Enya was even alive. She probed the Earth, trying to reach under the surface. “I can’t do it, I can’t feel anything. That is his domain, it’s earth but it’s not me.” She lets out a hearty sigh and a shiver goes down her spine.

` How is she so calm? Two days ago she would have never thought of something like this, not even in her wildest dreams. But now, she is underwater, not dead specifically, and she’s a vital part to how the Earth was made. She knows of her other past lives, and she thinks that contributes to her not having a mental breakdown, but it still almost sends her into shock.

And although she has concern for herself, she is more worried about Enya. She knows they have never really had a good connection with him, but they were still close. They are hand in hand in the main creation of the earth and she can’t just let him die.
Well, if he does die, she thinks with a flash. Her memory of her past lives does not extend to her deaths. She can remember up until her very last day, but it cuts off before it gives any clues to how she dies. Lur wonders if the memories are unlocked once they transform and she opens her mouth to ask Calder but with a quick look to his face and the situation in front of them she snaps her mouth shut. Now is not the time.

While it does not look as if anything going on, with bubbling lava still hardening in the moving water, in reality under the surface, everything is going on. Enya is floating, sitting quite peacefully with his eyes closed. He knows he needs to finish his transformation, he can feel the core of the earth yanking and pulling at his soul, but he isn’t ready. He is sad; he is trying his best to stop crying but he can’t help it. Anger always boils at the edge of his skin but now it is gone, replaced by hurt and longing.
None of his lives were good. Not a single one of them. Each was riddled with death, agony, and injury. He was never allowed to be happy. His fuel was is anger and he can think of no lives that were positive after six years old. Enya opens his eyes and gazes into the sea of red in front of him. The magma is gently and slowly churning, a very calm motion. And it vaguely shocks Enya; it is a single part of him that is not harsh and violent. He knows it is destructive and ruthless; but it is also calm and slow. So he is still startled, wondering how something that has so much power, so much force is meandering along like a snail.

Then it comes to Enya, how the magma and lava are slow yet ruthless. It’s exactly like him, and then he realizes it is him. He is the lava, the fire, the flicker and flames; and he almost smacks himself in the forehead. But the fire king does not; instead he takes a deep breath, leaning his head backwards. He knows he needs to transform. And he has no idea what is going to happen, how he is going to change.

Slowly, ever so slowly, he reaches his arms outwards. He opens them and spreads his fingers like he is reaching for a distant movie. And in a way, he is. The fiery earth core moves in gentle waves around him and it envelops his body even more, almost cradling him. Enya’s eyes droop closed and he finally answers the call of the fire. Instantly, he merges with it. The process was faster than Calder’s by a split heartbeat and his body tenses. His top canines elongate and when he moves his body, it’s hyperactive, faster than normal. His heart slows, and slows, and stops. Enya’s eyesight grows sharper, his smell better, and his fingernails harden and sharpen into near claws. Tattoos similar to Calder’s appear, but in red. They swirl up and down his arm, glowing and fading until they stay a solid color.

The process begins to slow and Enya moves closer to normal speed now, his body relaxes and he lays back into the thick substance. He lets out a sigh, his eyes still letting off an eerie light. He knows that he’s transformed by a low chiming in the back of his mind. It’s singing, cheering, that he is whole again, every part of him is together. And he can feel Lonato wake up. She raises her head gently and peers around with her near-sighted eyes. The leucistic snake calls to Enya and the fire kind answers, his voice calm. The pair communicate with his new founded ability for a few minutes while she roams the tree-house, looking for Leith. She eventually finds her and the two sit together, no longer alone and unable to move.
Once Enya is satisfied his other half is okay, he heaves out a heavy sigh. He needs to be prepared for his return back to his friends. The young boy knows he’s now a beast, and he already left them on bad terms. He shouldn’t reacted like that, a piece of his mind yells, but he quickly silences it. He knows it was wrong and honestly a dumb idea, but Calder stepped over the line too.

He makes a resolution; he isn’t going to apologize. Calder is; he is the one who said rude things, who blew up just because he laughed at him. Enya laughs a short back, remembering Calder. He means, who wouldn’t? He’s a mermaid for Light’s sake. He has fins, a tail!! And Enya catches the reference to Light he subconsciously makes.

Not knowing how to go about it, he pushes it aside. More memories of his past lives well up insides of him but he knows how is not the time, he doesn’t have the patience for anything new to happen at this moment.
And so with a flick of his wrists, the previously closed seal in the earth is once more torn open. He stops the lava from bursting forth, knowing that he can’t afford to injure his friends any further. To Calder it would simply be a nuisance but Lur is not transformed and it could very well hurt her.

To the other elements his entry is grand, the sea floor breaking open just to release him. His body floats upwards until he is level to the ground and he can swim forward. The light from the molten earth illuminates his passage, twinkling through the water and shining on small pieces of plants and tiny animals. Enya looks around, his eyesight locking in on microscopic floaters drifting through the water. He can hear beasts of the ocean bellowing from thousands of yards away and with some concentration he can even hear the ragged heartbeats of his friends. They are beating harshly against their chests, out of worry or anger, no one would no.

The fire element nearly scoffs, noticing his own heart thumps no more. But it is also confusing, because in reality, it never needed to move or pump blood through his veins, because this was just a vessel. The Elements’ powers were so strong they could move and do every function of a normal human without any other need. They truly did not need to breath, eat...anything. And now that it has ended without his intervention, Enya feels stronger than his friends. More in control of a body that is not really his.
But before the newly cockier boy can boast about his abilities and lack of bodily functions, a jet of air knocks him over and he is flipping head over heels into open water. His body goes limp and he coughs, practically hacking up a lung. He doesn’t realize it was one of his friends and he raises his head with a snarl on his face. Yet Makan appears in front of him, apparently unfazed by the aggression flashing on his face. She snorts and reaches out her hand towards him, which he grabs with a grumble.
“You’re an idiot” She states, grasping his hand a lot harsher than necessary. “You try to beat up Calder, you bust open his domain, and you show up from the earth like you're the freaking god of everything, ever.” Her face goes slack as she hears a satisfied chortle from Calder.

Her hair drifts in the water very calm compared to the speed at which she turns around to face Calder. Her anger has turned on him and proves just as ruthless. “Don’t you make that sound, Calder, it’s just as much your fault as his. You provoked him and right after you connected yourself. You knew you were stronger than him and still poked and prodded at our weak spots. We may not truly be our vessels but we still have emotions.” She spouts, her pale complexion turning red in her anger. She whips her hands in a swirling motion and the air in the water pushes the two boys until they are in front of her, shoulder to shoulder.

Behind her, Lur grins at the fierceness in Makan and she swims forward the best she can until she is right behind her. She puts her hand on her shoulder in an attempt to calm Makan in just the slightest. Makan visibly relaxes but her grip on the boys falter in no way.

“Well, as much as you both are complete morons, you did manage to transform two of us in the same place...even if it was by provoking one.” She finishes with a very pointed glare at Calder and grumbles, but releases them nonetheless.
Enya rubs his shoulder once his elemental companion lets him go, the captured air filtering out and going into its normal cycle. He stares at Calder, his new eyesight locking in on his scales, his ears, his fins. They are translucent and the fire god is caught into them, how the light shines through and how he can see Calder’s muscles moving as his tail flips back and forth to keep him upright.

“You can look away now” Calder says with venom, still upset, but all of the elements can see the slight blush on his face as he says it, flustered by the intense stare of Enya. The young boy himself looks as if he’d been woken up roughly and he nods, turning his head away.

The girls had watched the exchange with interest and they laugh quietly to each other. Lur leans over and says something that they boys cannot hear into Makan’s ear and the other girl lets out a string of laughter. She shakes her head and elbows Lur in the ribs, but she’s beaming.

Lur smiles back in response and she turns around, moving off to head to the boys. She beckons for the Makan to follow and soon the four are in a similar position as when they first appeared her. In a square shape, Enya facing Lur and Makan facing Calder.
The Earth element takes a deep gasp of air from her bubble, preparing for a review. She looks Calder over, details specific aspects of his transformation. She does the same to Enya and looks vaguely confused as she notices very little change in him, excluding the massive tattoos now lining his body.

“So, we have...a mermaid? And a...Enya with tattoos?” She starts, hesitation apparent in her voice.

“A mermaid! No; a merman” Calder quips back with a certain defensiveness in his voice. “At least, I think so. I’m not exactly what they show in the myths. I don’t have gills, and I think I still have lungs. And the fin is here, for sure, but I think I would still have my legs if I were to go on land. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like they are there, but they aren’t.” He shrugs in the end, his ear fins opening and closing, like a sign of nervousness.

Makan chortles, rolling her eyes at his awkward explanation. “So...a mythological, not mythological, merman? Sounds about right, fish boy”

Enya’s lips curve up into a smirk and he waves his hand at Calder as if he was dismissing him. The sea king’s mouth had opened to continue to speak but he closes it, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms. Lur notices his pouting pose but ignores it for the time being, knowing they needed a run down of their current situation.

He folds his arms outward and sends a vibration through the water. Enya does it subconsciously to show his power and as the waves reach his friends, their bodies go lax and their faces turn to him, eyes blank and their faces a slate of impressionability. Their consciousness is still free to roam and Lur begins to panic as she realizes she can’t move her limbs. Makan takes in the situation but keeps her focus on Enya.

She doesn’t know what is going on but she doesn’t want to fight it, somehow she thinks it has purpose. Calder has no opinion and almost zones out, still frustrated with his fiery friend. Enya did not mean to keep his friends from leaving but takes it to his advantage to demonstrate.

He takes a deep breath and looks around at his friends, slowly taking away the hormone he sent out that kept them from moving. “So, I’m not really sure either,” he mumbles, his voice unsure, which is certainly rare for him, “I know the word, but it doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t fit me. Not really. But the powers...they are amazing.” The more he speaks, the more excited his voice grows. His eyes sparkle and he approaches Makan, her body still not able to move efficiently.

He runs his hand along her face, his nails elongating like before, and takes care not to hurt her. Waving his arms to show where he is, he flits to Calder, moving faster than his friends’ eyes can track. With an evil smirk he shoves Calder backwards but before he moves, he appears behind him and pushes him back.

Slowly this time, he comes to float in front of Lur. A smile grows on his lips and a harsh shiver goes down Lur’s spine. She doesn’t feel afraid, not in the least, but something sinister has gotten into Enya. No one knows if it is because of the power or this is the real him. But Enya leans in and peers intently into Lur’s eyes, tracking her pupil dilation and the quick movements of her iris.

The young boy concentrates and suddenly Lur goes rigid. She can feel her body slip out of her control. It rests in Enya’s hands and all she can do is struggle with her mind. He backs up slowly, the water letting him pass faster than a normal human could.
Hesitantly Lur follows after him, her motions shaky and unsure. It’s clear that what she is doing is not under her control. Her teeth grind in a subconscious act and she presses against the pull of Enya’s will. But no matter how hard she tries, she comes closer and closer to the powered element. He grins wickedly, showing off sharp canines and a vicious intent. His body oozes power and his other elements overlook with extreme weariness. Yet with a sudden change of attitude, Lur is released. She falls backwards in the water, revealing the strength he was exerting in order to get her to go forward.

Enya takes a bow, moving fluidly and he seems pleased with how he got his point across. His teeth flash once more as he smiles, before standing up straight once more. Makan is the first to clap; her weak grin is somewhat tense but she is genuinely impressed. The feeling of not being equal to his power, because she is not transformed, calls in the back of her mind. Two are changed, are stronger than they ever have been in this life. The fact of her and Lur being subordinate in terms of what they can and can’t do, nags her.

The young Air elements shakes herself out of her thoughts and rubs her hands together, which would have made a clapping sound if they weren’t still underwater. She notices that their air bubbles have been slowly getting smaller and knows they need to get back to dry land soon.

“We need to move again, you know” She says, matter-of-factly; but anyone can see the tinge of fear in her eyes. She can see the bubbles shrinking more and more and it only reaches an inch around from her head. Lur looks over and her pupils shrink just the tiniest, the situation coming to mind.

Calder nods and puts his hands out to Enya and Lur. Lur takes his hand and reaches her’s out to Makan, grasps it, giving Lur a small smile. The Earth element smiles back and squeezes, intertwining their hands instead of overlapping them. If Calder or Enya noticed they chose to say nothing and instead give one another a dirty look before they hold hands to. The connection is complete with Makan yanking a reluctant Enya’s hand.

The transformed element huffs a little, rolling his eyes. The curling red lines on his arms begin to move, and Calder’s does the same.

“Really, why am I surprised?” Lur mumbles, jealously tugging at her. She pushes it away mentally, attempting to comfort herself with the fact that she will be transformed soon. The jealously continues but calms down. A voice in the back of her head whispers that is it not necessarily jealously, but longing for their own connection to be back. Lur nods and notices that the other elements had their eyes closed, ready to make the connection and transport to their next destination.

She closes her eyes, feeling the uncompleted ripple of power seep into her. Deep breath in, deep breath out becomes a subconscious chant to keep her in beat. Slowly the power rushing throughout the four teens began to accrue, growing stronger and stronger.

It begins to burn, to hurt even to Lur and Makan alike. Because they are not transformed, the energy is overpowering their own, and irritating their minds. Makan squeezes Lur’s hand tighter, her hand cold, even in the warm water they are in. With a final breath in, Lur’s heart racing, they begin to spin.