The soldiers stood before the Queen, who was holding a little girl. The girl was old enough to walk, but she clung to her mother's neck with tears streaming down her face.

"Where's daddy? Momma, where's daddy?" She sobbed into her mother. The Queen pursed her lips and took a breath.

"We're sorry your highness," One man said. He had dark hair and dark eyes, he was tall and clean shaven. He looked older than he should. The attack on the ship had taken its toll, as well as the slow painful ride back to shore.

"Jonathan, it isn't your fault. My husband did everything he could, as did the crew. He would be glad that his men and the ship survived. I suppose he made you captain with his last words?" She inquired.

"Yes ma'am, though I wish it had been under difference circumstances." The man looked down.

"Well, that was not the case. I must offer you a place to stay. As I understand it repairs to the ship must be made and the men in the shipyard say it will take almost a year to repair. The maids will show you where you will stay."

"Your highness, we couldn't intrude."

"It isn't intruding. Now go along I have to put her to bed, she isn't taking this well." The girl in her arms was now thrashing in attempt to get her way.

"Where is DADDY?" She screamed.

"He… he is lost at sea baby, daddy's gone to live with the mermaids and the fish." The queen clutched the child closely and she briskly walked away.

"Daddy can't go! He has to stay with me!" The child cried. "Mermaids are no good, daddy knows that."

"Daddy didn't have a choice, the sea chose him." The queen's voice was fading.

That night it seemed the girl's cry was all that was heard throughout the kingdom.