The sounds of the party inside pounded in her ears, even when she escaped out onto the balcony. The wind whipped her long tangled hair around her face, stinging her cheeks with its sleet, and soaked her to the bone with its chilling rain.

She easily navigated through the torrent, to the thin, delicate railing of the edge. She leaned on it heavily, looking out over the wild sea. She sighed happily, spreading her arms, to let the wind buffet her, blowing her hair and gauzy dress back.

Two hands jerked her roughly away from the edge.

"Karis!" He had to yell in her ear to be heard, his arms gripping her biceps roughly. "Do you have a death wish?" He demanded. She blinked water out of her eyes to see the face of her guardian, Jacsdon.

"NO!" she bellowed at him, grinning madly, which probably wasn't helping her case. He gave her a look and her smile fell off her face. "Jax! I'm fine!" He tried to tug her into the party once again, so she could be shown off to all the stuffy nobles, young and old a like. If only her father would just let her not marry! Then she could have all the adventures she wanted. There was a burst of white light, illuminating her keeper's annoyed face. She kept trying to tug her arm away from his iron grip, and lifting her sopping gray skirts with the other.

"Just a little longer!" She pleaded. His stoic face caved and he lead her carefully back to the edge. He kept his grip on her arm as she excitedly leaned over the edge, laughing like a little girl when the waves hit the cliff wall beneath them. The sky was lit by another flash of lightening, this one a bright blue.

"Jacsdon! Jax! Did you see it?" Her eyes were huge. People rarely saw southern lightening, though it was rumored to be the strike of an unknown sea-god's hammer.

"Karis. We need to go inside now." Her protector's voice dropped low, in her ear. "That stuff is bad luck." She groaned.

"You don't really believe in all the mermaid legends do you?" She complained. "We all know they're just legends."

"Legends come from facts." He reminded her. "And we've experienced enough "legends" to last a life time." He gave her a glare.

"Five more minutes. Then I'll go. Promise." He nodded, though reluctant.

As she was leaning over, one of the waves rose higher than the others. Karis leaned farther out, a hand outstretched. The wave started to take shape as it neared them, already at impossible heights.

The mermaid was made of clear water, her long hair flashing white, and her eyes a deep green. Her hand met Karis's just before Jax yanked her away. As strong as the man was he couldn't pull his charge away from the so-called myth.

When their hands connected, Karis's mind filled with images, some dark, and evil, others filled with light, shimmering waves and haunting melodies. Water trickled up her arms, and from there to her shoulders and back spreading to the rest of her body. In its wake it left small, spiraling, wave-like, glowing tattoos. Jacsdon jumped away when it started to spread it him.

Karis's eyes were fixed on the sea-girl's, her gray eyes slowing gaining a more blue hue, then rapidly changing to green. Her black curly hair gained a couple of conspicuous white streaks. As the tattoos went closer to her heart under her dress, they changed into a beautiful sliver, finishing in a bubbling swirl over her spirit. The mermaid was the one to break contact, severing her connection with Karis. The poor girl fainted, her warden gingerly catching her. Her tattoos faded from their glowing state, leaving faint blue-ish, vein-looking contours running up and down her arms and body. They closely resembled flowing tides, and rippling water. He gathered her in his arms, walking away from the party, to her rooms.

They would see the damage of her irresponsible actions in the morning, when she was alert. He could only prey to his gods that it wasn't too costly.