The Sea Hag
The Great Sea Serpents
In the early days, when the Germanic peoples began to sail on the open waters of the great northern ocean, there lived a species of creature that is almost extinct today. It was born, grew, and fed in the deepest water of what we now call the North Atlantic. In these waters, in a deep cavern, over a millennium ago, was born one of these ancient creatures. As it slowly chipped its way out of its egg shell, and crawled out of the mud its mother had buried it in, it began to make a high pitch whine. From miles away two serpents heard the helpless call of their offspring, and swam back to their mud nest as fast as they could swim. In these ancient times serpents were common in the world's oceans, and the birth of one more was not an event to be marked with much historical significance, but in reality the birth of this tiny sea serpent was legendary in its importance. The mother swam round and round her new baby inspecting the tiny little object that was clumsily learning how to swim in the great depths. The father meanwhile kept up his guard. If they had heard their child's cries than so too did the other males. Their child would make a tasty treat for a marauding lone male. As quickly as she could the mother serpent sucked the baby into her mouth, and swam for the shallow waters of the nearest beach. The father stayed behind waiting for any other calls from their young but unfortunately only one of their eggs hatched.
Later that day when the father arrived, the mother serpent turned towards the beach, and swam as fast as she could. With practiced ease she rode a wave right up onto the beach. The father serpent caught the next wave, and beached himself next to her as well. The mother gently opened her mouth, and the tiny serpent spilled out onto the white sand. Before the moisture evaporated from its body the proud parents lay there admiring their offspring in the morning sun. As dragons went she was a very beautiful little serpent. Her eyes were bright red, and her teeth were bright white, and sharp as needles. The mother ran her flipper down the ridge on her daughter's back, and marveled at how perfectly formed each bony ridge was. The symmetry, and size, of each of these " baby bumps " was exactly the same , and her shape was perfectly trim for gliding through the ocean waters at any depth. As the family dried in the sun they slowly began to transform. Flippers became arms, the forked tail changed into legs, and these water creatures became human in form. As the mother struggled to her feet she picked up her daughter, and with her husband by her side they walked up the beach to a cave where her mother had raised her centuries before. The proud parents decided to name their new offspring Vannaorm. In the protection of this cave they kept her safe, and fed their baby until it was old enough to venture out into the ocean waters to fend for itself.
Like most young serpents Vannaorm loved to race through the water near the surface, and then with a burst of energy, and a final flap of her tail, she would jump out of her watery domain, and become airborne. Her flippers and forked tail were very strong for a female, and she became the envy of the other young serpents with the great height she could reach with every jump. Vannaorm was also much faster than the other water dragons, and liked nothing more than to tease the male serpents into chasing her. She would always allow them to almost catch her before whipping her great tail back and forth, and quickly swimming away. Most of the young males would give up, and turn away, but there was one young serpent named Dervan who never seemed to tire of the chase. He always seemed more than happy to chase her no matter how many times she teased him.
Dervan was a large serpent. He was much faster, and stronger than the other young males in their group. Even the older males tended to give Dervan plenty of space when swimming with him. As with all male serpents Dervan had a sharp bony plate protruding from his tail. With these plates a male could slash anything that came too close to them. What made Dervan unique was the size of his tail plate. It was almost twice as big as any of the males in their group, and it quickly gained the young male respect, and a place of honor with his peers. Even at a young age he was looked to for leadership and protection, and many of the young females sought out his attention as a possible mate . Dervan, however, had his eyes on one female in particular. If only he could catch up to her !
Over time Vannaorm began to enjoy Dervan's company, and would often slow down enough for the big male to come close enough for them to converse. Using a series of squeaks and clicks, the two became very good friends, and soon became inseparable. This friendship grew over the years into love, and one day when their feelings could no longer be contained, they were overcome with the urge to mate. Sea serpents lived and fed in the cold ocean, but they mated on the warm sands of a beach. As they wriggled up out of the water, and into the cool dry air they began to slowly transform. Flippers became arms, and the forked bony tail became two feet. This was a dangerous time for the water serpents. For as they changed into a form that was more human than dragon they were vulnerable to attack. When they had finished their metamorphosis they stood up, fell into each others arms, and gave themselves to their passions. The next morning, before returning to their watery domain they walked along the beach hand in hand. They came upon a small cave amongst the rocks that was dry during low tide, and completely submerged at high tide. They both agreed that this would be a safer place to lay her eggs than out in the deep ocean where any rogue male could snatch up their young. They decided to come back, and raise their young here when the time came.
Five full moons later Vannaorm returned, and laid a batch of eight eggs in a hole she had dug in the cave floor' s wet sand. When the next full moon rose in the night sky she heard the helpless cries of her offspring as she swam around the mouth of the cave. Vannaorm rushed into the cave to check on her newborns while Dervan stood guard in the water just outside the cave entrance. Despite constant feedings, and the serpents loving care, only six of the eight young survived. This however was not unusual, and the couple were very happy with their new family. Like all sea serpents the young stayed close together with their parents for protection for four or five seasons before becoming large enough to feed themselves, and to fend off attackers. Dervan was kept very busy chasing away aggressive males who wanted his mate as much as they wanted his young as a quick snack . The young serpents loved to play together, and Vannaorm taught her young the art of jumping out of the water. They were taught how to catch fish, how to use their tales to defend themselves, and most of all they were taught to stay away from the floaters that were sometimes found on the surface. When they became old enough they swam off one by one. When they were all gone Dervan and Vannaorm felt the urge to mate come upon them again and swam back to the same beach they had mated on the first time. The couple produced many young over the years and remained very happy together.
Then slowly over a number of years the water dragons began to die off. More and more of them became sick and washed up on the shores, or sank to the great depths of the ocean bottom. At first the serpents did not understand what was happening. Gradually, over time, they began to believe that their deaths were being caused by the creatures that floated on the surface. Out of fear, and anger, they began to attack these intruders to their water world pulling their wooden floaters under, and drowning the creatures that resided inside. By then, however, their numbers were so reduced that they could not possibly hope to kill all those who floated above. Eventually, over many centuries, only two serpents remained, Vannaorm and Dervan. Although they mated every time the urge came upon them, their eggs seldom hatched, and when they did they did not survive for very long. The serpents roamed the northern oceans constantly seeking others of their kind, but never finding them. They were now all alone in their watery world.
End Part 1
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2014.
Next Part 2 : Attacked !