The Black Cliff

The Black Cliff

By:  Лука Каримова  Ongoing
Language: English
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What if the Little Mermaid fairy tale ended in a completely different way? Nokté did marry a prince, but after failing to bring an heir into the world, she was banished to the Black Cliff Castle. One day, on its northern shore, waves brought gutted newts. Who would want them dead? The little mermaid will have a lot to figure out and face her fears all alone.

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9 chapters
Chapter 1
From the records of the ship's logs: «From a distant, mariners always saw the shrouded in fog Black Cliff, as an ominous place, hovering above the earth in gloomy clouds. The captains kept their ships away from this damned cliff, fearing to run into prickly reefs and die before they wake from the terrifying collision. There were rumours that the Black Cliff has always been the refuge of the sea sorceress, however, no one has seen her for many years, and talks about her still continue to roam the lands of Sorfmarán. Local old-timers still remembered the sorceress's order: "When taking gifts from the sea, express gratitude and do not offend the dark waters with the guts of the dead." For this reason, fishermen kept boats with nets away from the water, cleaned the catch on land, and burned the remains in the fire, so as not to anger the witch and her pets — sea monsters lurking in the northern waters. After all,
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Chapter 2
Nocté scratched her foot and winced in pain. A great deal of time has passed since the sorcery, but she still walks on the ground as if on glass shards. Every step is a torture. “Sister was right. I put too much at stake and bit the dust. Why am I not as far-sighted as you, Erida?” The strange gulls’ behavior circling over the black reef attracted girl's attention. The birds attacked something hidden from Nocté's eyes, carrying away some pieces in their beaks. Putting the pain aside, the girl ran out of the bedroom, slid down the spiral staircase past Agnes carrying clean linen and got to the first floor. The maid shouted something behind her, but Nocté didn’t hear.“Maybe there was a shipwreck somewhere nearby and the victim was washed up on the rocks? Or was it a monster that attacked?” Almost colliding with a cook holding a huge basket of fresh seafood, the girl ran down the st
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Chapter 3
The Black Cliff. Sixteen years earlier. That spring day Johannes was lying on a hill catching few rays that were shining through gloomy clouds. He was nibbling on a grass blade, lazily looking at a flock of sheep: yellowish and light gray wool balls were plucking juicy clover that covered the whole hill. From time to time the animals bleated at each other as if exchanging words, and tried to push their fellows away from the most delicious areas of grass. Johann hated the Black Cliff and dreamed to leave it, break out of the mustiness of the eternal fog and head south where it was always warm as in summer, the harvest ripened faster, and the air smelled lavander and peaches. Capital people delivered groceries for sale in the villages the Black Cliff.Spring on the north was late. And in summer it was hardly warmer. For most of the year there was a forever hazy weather, the air was filled with the aromas of dampness and decay, the nigh
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Chapter 4
Serpens[1] showed his scaly muzzle, opened four sapphire eyes and poked the corpse with his nose.“Last time aquapil swam to the dead, and now serpens.” Sea serpents most often surrounded Nocté, reacting to the scent of her blood. Aquapiles, on the other hand, resembled water balls, but they changed their body, merging with water and stones and thereby becoming dangerous for unwaring sailors.“If monsters are not disturbed, they can stay in hibernation for many years or even centuries, waking up at the command of the ruler's trident which vibrations reach the most remote corners of the sea.”A powerful wave hit the serpent. Another newt rose threateningly from the water. He raised his hands and, controlling the water, turned it into ice needles. One spike hurt serpens' side. Uttering a cry similar to a whale, the monster slapped the water with its fin and disappeared into the abyss.Newt shot a hateful look at N
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Chapter 5
Agnes approached the table laden with empty cups and cleared her throat, attracting the attention of her mistress. Nocté looked up at her and her black pupils that filled the gray iris constricted. The girl tilted her head to the side and winced lightly. After the second corpse, she began to suffer from insomnia to which were added frequent headaches and incredible thirst. She lost her appetite again, and after a long walk, nausea attacks kicked in.“My lady, come with me, I have something to show you”, Agnes murmured, beckoning for her.Nocté put down her pen, passed a ribbon between the pages of her diary and, taking a last sip of water from another cup, followed the maid.They passed through corridors hung with decayed tapestries that lost colours, then descended the stairs to the basement, and from there went to the wine cellar. Agnes pointed to a n
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Chapter 6
Agnes managed to grab her mistress by the hand before she went to the bottom. Pushing hard, the maid pulled the girl to the pier. There was no time to call Bastian for help.“Help me carry the lady to the bedroom” she pleaded, turning to the Chaos that had quietlyswam up. The curiosity of him became good luck for the old woman.The newt bristled his fins, hissed and, measuring the maid with a contemptuous look, dived, sliding to the exit of the grotto. A wave separated from the pier and, covering Chaos’ body, froze his limbs, surrounded him with a dense water ball and lifted him into the air.“Do as you're told, and maybe I'll help you find out who killed your brothers,” Agnes croaked, holding a clawed hand clenched above her. The rejuvenated fingers were silvered with scales. The wrinkles on her face smoothed out, returning her to her former cold beauty. Black curls fell over her shoulders, glam up her nondescript dress with its lu
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Chapter 7
  Chapter 4   Johannes   The sorceress was attracted by Johannes' courage and beauty. They could talk about the shepherd's dreams for hours. He didn't even notice how he told the mermaid about his fears, life with his father whom he loved endlessly. But his aspirations could be realised only in the capital of Sorfmaran - Vayle. The sorceress allowed him to come to her grotto, calling it a tiny corner of their joy. One day, a mermaid met Johann, changing her usual appearance to a human one. They had no time to talk that night. She fell in love with a passionate young man who wasn't afraid of her nature and thirsted for knowledge. When the sorceress wasn't there, he spent time alone in the grotto with old folios, studied, memorised. Especially everything related to magic, although he would never have been able to learn how to conjure. According to the mermaid, it was subject onl
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Chapter 8
Vayle   The carriage stuck a little on the road among people going to the fair, and Nocté and Agnes got to the king's castle late in the evening when the masquerade ball began. The girl was the only late guest. The servant met them at the main entrance and intended to escort them to the ballroom, but under Agnes’ icy gaze, he faded away and asked nervously, trembling from something: “Would the lady like to refresh herself up?” he stretched out his hands to the valises, which the coachman thoughtfully helped to carry, and returned to the horses. “Of course! We were on the road all day! What kind of servants does His Majesty have? Who do you think you've met now? A low-born philistine? Come on, show me the way to the apartments, my dear,” Agnes stamped her foot, and the servant heard a crunch, as if something had broken in the old woman. Muttering apologies, he led them through the dimly lit corridors, puffing from
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Chapter 9
  Nocté dreamed of dancing with Gottfried. They were surrounded by guests dressed in outfits of all colours of green: from dark moss green, like the marshes on the border of Sorfmarán, to bright green, like the first spring grass. At that time, dancing was the king's favourite amusement. He spent all his free time from state affairs at balls. There, imitating the queen, the court ladies were allowed not to wear corsets, not to do too complicated hairstyles and even dance barefoot. With a happy smile, Nocté circled with her husband hand in hand, pressed against his chest, watering the lapel of his coat with tears. The king looked at his beautiful wife and saw happiness in her eyes. Gottfried has never doubted his beloved, having faith that she shares his passion with great joy. But the king didn't suspect what efforts Nocté had to restrain her cry of pain. With the last of her strength, she endured, trying not t
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