Alternating viewpoint story of two very different people.
Nadira swam deep in cool blackness of the night sea, the chill didn't even bother her. The moonlight flickered in from the surface and shimmered against her pale pearlescent skin and hair. She was glad that she didn't have to worry about holding her breath the way the Surfacers had to.
Once she reached the sea cave that she had been looking for, a smile played at her lips. The broken bits of the wooden Surfacer ship was visible, she didn't need any light to see, provided she near enough. She liked it that way. She didn't know what she was, how she came to be or why she was, though she pondered this often. When she stood she was almost seven feet tall, her body was toned and curvy, and she had webbed toes and fingers. Her hair was long and reached just past her hips, she never had the desire to cut it. Nadira's eyes didn't appear to have any iris or pupil, they were the same pearlescent white as the rest of her and incredibly light sensitive.
Nadira rarely came ashore, fear gripped her every time she did, the Surfacers were terrifying voyagers that she preferred to avoid. She swam toward the sunken ship, hope that she'd find something useful welled in her chest.
Once aboard, she couldn't help the twinge of fear and unease, they tended to cause nothing but destruction and fear wherever they went. She knew none of them were there or alive at least, Surfacers swam from time to time but usually not successfully at these depths. Once her feet were firmly planted on the worn wooden deck, she made her way to cargo bay. It was airlocked from the water pressure, which was a bit surprising, though it did happen from time to time. She rummaged in barrels and crates. The sinking must have been very recent, some of the stored produce was still fresh. The ship stirred slightly with the current causing the empty slave chains to clink. Nadira froze for a moment, her hear racing with sudden fear. She wasn't expecting the slight disturbance.
After her momentary pause, she continued her search. Nadira stuffed her bag with apples, potatoes, lemons and whatever other foodstuffs to get her by and prolonging the length of time before she had to go ashore again. The ship itself was massive, it was going to take quite some time for her to thoroughly search it. In the way she was accustomed, her feet made no sound as she walked about in the pitch black darkness of the abyssal nighttime. She sang softly to comfort herself. The words of the only language she knew rang out and echoed in the entrapped quarters.
Nadira made her way into the second level on the cargo bay, pausing her singing momentary. A few torches flickered in the distance. The smell of the dead caused her stomach to lurch in repulsion, the taste of bile stung and burned in the back of her throat. She covered the lower half of her face with her elbow as she moved a little closer to the lights. A lot of the barrels and crates here were empty. 'Why did they keep empty barrels?' she silently wondered. There seemed to be another room in the back. Curiosity nagged at her, she never fought that trait well enough. Her senses were keened in on her surroundings, she couldn't afford to make a mistake, the current posed a threat and any jostling could drop the ship to the furthest depths. She inched her way closer to the wooden door. A slight shifting sound made her hesitate. Nadira mentally brushed away the sound. 'It was probably just the current again,' she resolved as she opened the door.
Nothing prepared her for the sight the she saw. A male Surfacer with a broken arm, he was covered in wet grime, sweat, blood and all manner of bodily refuse. He was barely conscious and his face grimaced in pain. Old food bits and rat corpses littered the small room. Nadira slowly closed the distance between them, the collective scents and the bitter smell of infection revolted her. He was still in his armor, she knew that would hinder him. His eyes shot open wide when it was obvious he realized he was no longer alone. With his good arm he scrambled for his sword, Nadira kicked it away. The Surfacer roared in frustration, it was clear that he saw her as a threat. She didn't feel surprised though, to them everything seemed a threat.
He seemed to settle down after a few minutes of shouting and gesturing at her. She didn't know what he was saying, it probably wasn't pleasant things to hear anyway. She eased towards him again, taking only the slowest of movements. The Surfacer allowed her to touch his hand, but no more than that. "Oh come now, how do you expect me to help you if you behave this way?" she asked after a few minutes of frustration. He froze when she finally spoke. Taking this opportunity, she moved swiftly, hitting him with only enough magic to knock him out for a few hours.
Once he was out of it, she immediately stripped him, cleaned him and tended the wound the best that she could. She had to rebreak it and cut away the black and purple decaying flesh. Nadira fished a single vial from her bag, it wasn't much but it would heal most of the wound and clear out any infection. Though, vigilent care and proper cleaning would still be required. Once she administered the dose, his color immediately improved. It was a good sign for sure. After cleaning his belongings, she placed them in her bag. She took a bit of metal and pinched it around his nose so he didn't inhale any water. Then, Nadira carefully hefted him up in to her arms and tied him to her. He wasn't as tall as what she imagined, she guessed he was a little under six feet in height. She held him close and made her way back to the edge of the water. Nadira placed her lips over his and dove down. It was an odd and uncomfortable method to breathe in to him, but at least he wouldn't drown.
Onward she swam, avoiding the currents. The water would be cold to him, she'd seen that happen many times by now. Her movements were slowed down by his weight, but she didn't want to let him die. She wasn't sure why she wanted to help, but the desire to do so nearly overwhelmed her.
Finally, she broke the surface. The biting cold wind stung sharply. She saw torchlight in the far distance. Other Surfacers. Unease caused her insides to protest. It was too far. He'd die of the cold before she even got him there. She made her hasty decision and immersed down once more. Her cave wasn't far from here. Down, she dove again. She breathed him down to the depths with her.
Her sea cave was a large airlocked one, maybe a league or so under the surface. She untied and gently laid the man down and built a small fire with dried driftwood and ships boards. Nadira wasn't sure how he'd react when he regained his mind, so she bound him up with the bit of rope she had. At least he wasn't going to be able to try anything...well she hoped at least. She immediately set about sorting and storing the supplies that she brought back. After that was done, she took out his wet clothes and dried them over the fire as well as warmed a blanket for him.
The man didn't stir for a long while. She wondered if maybe she had mis-measured her magic. Nadira was starting to worry, but the time allowed her to tend to him without issue. When he stirred, he had jolted awake as she was giving him a bit of fish broth. He jerked and pulled away from her, nearly knocking the bowl out of her hands. Nadira scowled and chastised the Surfacer. His gaze was a blue one, not too unlike the seawater itself. Like before, he didn't seem to understand her words, then again she didn't really expect him to. She gestured to the bowl and spoon and then to him. The man seemed to take the hint from there and she was able to spoon feed him, much to his disappointment.
The sea spirit was there again when he had awoken. Kartik had encountered it earlier before it attacked him. He had been trapped down there for one...maybe two months. He couldn't really tell anymore, he didn't think to track the days. The raider mentally kicked himself for his negligence. Now he was stuck under the rule of a sea spirit that took the form of a beautiful woman. He didn't trust it. Old man Olav said that sea spirits only helped themselves, but then again, when he was a boy, he also said that the dead winter witch would steal him away and sacrifice him to the tree god if he misbehaved. Kartik grumbled under his breath as the spirit inched closer with the bowl of broth after fussing. He decided it would probably be for his benefit to at least try and comply until he figured a way out of here.
As it came close enough to bring the spoon to his lips once more, he couldn't help but to notice its form and face. Olav had been wrong, it didn't have a fish tail. It didn't have teeth as long as dagger blades, or long yellow talons for that matter. And it definitely wasn't 'drenched in the heavy ink of the sins of those who died at sea.' Kartik shuddered and he didn't know if it was from the thought, the cold or the presence of the creature that caused it. He sipped the broth to appease it. 'Fish broth?' he thought with surprise, all of those other supplies that it had evidently brought back and it only made a fish broth? He wondered if it was trying to save the other supplies for a meal consisting of mostly him. He swallowed hard, the broth did taste good though.
He looked about the sea cave he was in. It wasn't very big, honestly. The cave ceiling was maybe twelve feet in height from what he could guess. The stone was black craggy cliffstone, he figured they must be somewhere close to the coastline.