Himalia and the Sea: an Oceanic Folktale
By: Dassa Posted on: April 18, 2006
It is common knowledge in the annals of history that Himalia, one of the original seven Offspring that begat the human race in times long ago, had a fondness for the Oceans. It is also well-known that Himalia set sail into the Western Seas, never to return. When, in the time of the Seleucarian Empire, landwalker ships passed through the shipping channels of merfolk cities, tales from the land began to entwine themselves into the beliefs of the ocean peoples. One such story details the whereabouts of Himalia after she set sail.
Before time was counted, Caspian was the God of the Sea. He had, to help Him guard the vast territories of the Seas, four Guardians known as Caspeids: Sefyr, Notia, Borak, and Eusia. Rarely have mortals lain eyes on these Caspeids, most of them preferring to stay in their own territory. But this tale goes further back than even the time of all of the Caspeids.
Himalia set sail to the west in her boat, crafted with the help of her brother Ledo before he disappeared, and at first it was splendid. The waters were calm, the wind blew just right to keep her going, the sun shone brightly all over the land. Valnurana blessed her with sweet dreams in the evening, Vastar kept the skies a brilliant blue. One morning, as Aurora opened Her arms and dawn settled across the world, a storm swept through the waters.
Though she struggled valiantly to keep her small vessel afloat, the storm raged on and finally, the boat capsized. Horrified, Himalia tried vainly to stay near the wreckage of her boat without getting hurt. Once the storm passed, Himalia found her boat to be nothing more than shards of wood and a torn sail, her belongings strewn about the Sea. Stranded and alone, the Offspring gazed about herself and looked up to the now-clear skies and sighed.
"Now what?" she asked herself, grabbing a piece of driftwood and hanging onto it. "Nobody will find me out here," she said quietly. "I have no food and no water, though I am surrounded by it. What am I to do? Oh, Carme, I wish you were here to help me!"
And there she stayed, floating in the warm western waters, and eventually sleep claimed her.
When Himalia awoke, a pair of clear, wise eyes swam into vision above her. Where another would shriek in surprise, Himalia found that she only felt secure. She was in a small hut, a round structure with a roof and a cot and no other fixtures. "Hello," she said at last.
"Hello," responded the man who stood over her, his voice twinged with a foreign accent. It was something Himalia had never heard of before.
Slowly, she sat up, never taking her eyes from the man--at least, she assumed it was a man--who had just spoken. "Did you...save me?"
He grunted affirmatively.
"Thank you, kind sir," Himalia said softly. "I am called Himalia. What do others call you?"
He was silent for a moment, turning to look out of the doorway to the hut. In his hand he held a long staff, nearly as tall as he, and he tapped it once upon the ground. "The only name you need know me by is that which the God of the Seas calls me. I am Sefyr."
Himalia followed his gaze, watching sea creatures surface the ocean and dive underneath. The creatures were like nothing she had ever seen before: fins of a dolphin, forelegs of a land-walking creature, a ruffle around the head that looked something akin to a fin. "Thank you for saving me, Sefyr. I surely would have died if you had not come by." A question nagged at her, though.
Sefyr tapped the staff against the ground again. "Caspian would not forgive me if I allowed you to drown."
"Forgive my rudeness," she said, "but...what were you doing, out here?"
His face was unreadable, a mask of calm. If she had to place him at an age, she would place him somewhere in the vicinity of how old Callisto would be, today. He had a soothing, immovable nature about him, as if nothing in the world would bother him, and it spread to infect those near him. It was as if she sensed that if she had anything to get upset about, it would be useless to do so in front of this man.
Finally, after long moments, Sefyr said, "I am the Guardian of this Sea."
"Oh my," Himalia said faintly, blushing. "Thank you just the same."
"Caspian wishes to speak to you, landwalker," Sefyr said abruptly. He took her by the arm and before Himalia had time to register what happened, she stood somewhere else with her gaze upon the form of the God of the Seas. "Here is Your landwalker," Sefyr said, releasing her arm. "I will return to report later, Sir." He nodded once to Himalia, bowed slightly to Caspian, and disappeared in a fine mist.
Caspian held a hand out to Himalia. "Come, little Offspring, I will not harm you," he said with a chuckle.
"I am so confused," Himalia admitted, taking the God's hand. "Sir, I should be dead right now! But I am not, I am alive."
"Little Himalia," He said at last, after a moment of studying her. "You are the first sailor. How would it look had I allowed you to die in My Ocean, hm?"
She blushed. "Sir, I..."
"Quiet, young sailor," He said to her. "I am currently one Guardian short, in terms of those who guard My Seas. In exchange for sparing your life and extending it indefinitely, I would like for you to guard My eastern Seas."
"Sir?" Himalia asked, flustered.
"You need not decide this instant, my young sailor," He told her, touching her chin. "But I do need a decision soon."
Overwhelmed, she nodded. "If I could have...but a year..."
Caspian nodded to her. "A year to decide, dear sailor."
* * *
Over the course of the year, Himalia found herself falling in love with the kindness and good humor of the Ocean God. She felt an obligation to serve Him, but it was all so much! She should be dead, a part of her mind kept reminding her. One night, Himalia confessed her love for the Sea Lord, and in the coming months she begat him twin daughters. The Chaos that still flower in her veins from Maya's rape from the Unnameable Horror resulted in the daughters having skin unlike her own, an uncanny ability to breathe underwater, and a beauty unmatched. Caspian called them nymphs and took to calling them His little Oceanids, and time continued on without Himalia giving her answer to the God of the Seas.
Finally, a year passed and Caspian approached His dear Himalia. "Have you an answer for Me, dear sailor?"
Himalia nodded. "Yes, my love. I will become Your Guardian of the Eastern Seas, but I have one condition."
Caspian raised an eyebrow at her. "A condition?"
"I must never be called 'Himalia' again," she continued. "I would not want my brothers and sisters to know I have abandoned them for this duty. It would be much better if they thought I was dead."
"And by what name, My sailor, would you like to be called?" Caspian asked, a smile overtaking His face.
"Eusia," she said. "And no sailor shall come to harm in my sea."
"Let it be done," Caspian said, at last, and Himalia, now Eusia, took her rightful place as Guardian of the Eastern Seas.