It was wonderful.
It felt strange, not to be quite solid. Sort of spread out. The water beneath Adva was cool and clear. The sun began to rise somewhere overhead, touching her gently with its bright fingers, making her sparkle on the crest of the wave.
So this was what it was like.
The gentle rocking motion of the waves, tumbling her under the water and then bobbing her back to the surface, made her drowsy. She slipped into something resembling sleep, although somewhere within her she understood that she wasn't capable of becoming tired anymore.
For week, it was just like that. Adva let herself be carried wherever the waves decided to go. In some vague way she understood that they were moving with purpose—moving her away from the ship, away from the shore it had come from. Although she realized it, she had no strength to fight it, or even desire. She felt nothing.
Then, dimly, in a dream, she remembered her name.
In her dream, it was being said by someone else. Who?
It took much less time to recall the name of the owner of the voice than it had to remember her own.
Peter was calling her name.
Adva struggled to rouse herself, to listen harder, but she did not hear him call her name again. Instead there were shouts, and a splash as something fell or threw itself into the ocean. The wave she rested on was too far away to be disturbed by the ripples.
The dream threatened to overtake her again, but she fought against it, straining her hearing for more sounds from the direction of the splash. But the wave surged beneath her determinedly, and she found herself tossed beneath it again.
The little foam tried its best to escape the clutch of the wave, but was too weak. She rose to the top again.
For sure this time. It was Peter.
Peter! Peter! Peter!
His name echoed in her head, accompanied by no other words. She pleaded with the wave beneath her:
Take me to him! Take me to where he is! He will drown!
But the wave did not heed her, and so she and it drifted farther and farther out to sea.
The sun rose and set several times again before Adva regained consciousness.
They were approaching the shore.
She felt vague excitement, but couldn't remember why the shore was so important.
Idly, she wondered how exactly she was staying together. When the sea witch had described becoming sea foam, it was horrible. According to Maris, when you became foam, you dissolved, and were cast across the seven seas, never again to become whole.
And yet, Adva could feel that she was still one piece.
When she had finished her thoughts, which took several days to complete, Adva found herself sloshing against a dark, spiny rock. Water flowed into a large fissure in the stone, becoming trapped there. The water level seemed to be close to the top.
She heard a coarse, masculine voice singing a sea chanty, and something that sounded like a swinging bucket. Her guess was confirmed when suddenly she found herself scooped up into the wooden vessel and carried away.
The fisherman swung his bucket merrily, whistling to himself as he made his way expertly from the crevice that lead to the tide pools, to his small home. It was weather-worn and made of graying driftwood, briny with sea salt.
He paused at the ramshackle door to cast a glance at the sky.
It was overcast, but the breeze was strangely sweet. There would be no storm today.
Nodding to himself and taking up his whistling tune again, he carried the bucket inside, where Adva could hear the crackling of a hearth fire. He set the bucket next to the fireplace, and moved away. Adva heard a pot clanging as it was pulled from some hiding place. His footsteps returned.
He turned to busy himself with hanging the pot, stoking the fire.
"I'll have a fine fish soup tonight, cooked with the finest sea salt," he murmured to himself, pleased.
He looked the bucket, his face appearing enormous in Adva's limited view.
"Eh, I got a bit too much I see. And look there, a trace of sea foam. Well, my home is no king's palace."
With that thought, he picked up the bucket and poured a bit of the water out on the dirt floor.
Adva slid from the bucket to the floor, feeling a strange heat rush through her.
The old fisherman dropped the bucket, spilling the rest of the sea water everywhere and causing the fire to spit and sputter.
"What in blazes—!"
Adva blinked, slowly coming to herself. She lifted up a pale hand, spreading her fingers and staring briefly at the even, pink nails. With dread she didn't quite yet understand, she let her gaze drop lower and was greeted by the sight of two small white feet. She gasped, her memory returning to her.
"Legs! I still have legs!"
Then her hands flew to her throat, touching it with stunned joy.