Disclaimer: once again names, places, and faces belong to Mediaworld and I am playing with them purely for fun with no intent to cause copyright infringement or make any $$

Stormy says: The whole story with cool graphics and other informational tidbits can be found at http://www.powernet.net/~mbaring/oceanna.htm

Legend of the Promised One
Come Awake

"Neri... Neri... Promised One!"
The princess of Oceanna stirred in her sleep.
"Please... save me!"
Neri opened her eyes. She was in her own bed, in the tower of the palace. It was almost dawn. "Hey-- Micro, wake up! Let's go watch the sun rise!"
"Growf?" Neri's dog woke up and wagged his tail happily.
Outside the sky was a light shadowy blue with rosy clouds. The sun burned just beyond the horizon then rose into the world, casting a trail of bright gold on the water. The princess watched as the light came forward, reflecting off tower roofs and glittering in the waves as the morning sea woke up. Neri climbed onto the outside of her balcony, and dived off into that trail of gold.
Promised one...
Water burst in coolness around her. She pulled herself deeper. The ocean was clear and shining.
Micro dived in next to her, running around in the water with his propeller tail. Neri sighed and let herself rise to the air.
Save me!
Her head broke the surface.
"A dream."

"Oh, good morning Neri."
"Morning princess, beautiful day!"
"G-good morning Shema." Neri replied, but the flier chieftain had already gone on ahead. "Uncle, can I ask you-- who's the Promised One?"
"What? No one knows yet. Our Lady Neri left us the legend of the Promised One who will appear-- oh, coming Shema!"
Neri was left behind as the king hurried away. She shook her head with a smile. This was getting more common when talking to her uncle, especially when Shema was at the palace. King Nimon was gentle and tired looking most of the time, like his sister, the mother Neri could barely remember.
Ah well. Neri turned and opened the window. Micro was waiting outside, chasing birds back and forth.
"Hey! Micro!" And Neri dived out the window into the sea. When she came up Micro gave a questioning bark. "Going to see Neanda. Coming?" Micro barked a definite yes and dived.

The cavedwellers lived on the other side of the island. Neri and Micro swam to their side and climbed the thin path up to the caves. She entered her friend's home and called out, "Neanda?"
I am here, Neri." The cavedweller was sitting far in the back of the cave, doing something by the light of one candle.
Neri smelled the spicy green scent of herbs; Neanda was making medicines. Neri walked back to sit by the candle. "Neanda? I had a dream, someone called me the Promised One."
A long pause then Neanda asked, "Who?"
"I don't know. A girl's voice.... I asked my uncle but he was too busy, who is the Promised One?"
Another pause. Neanda always thought before he spoke. "When Tiara was queen, a foreseer came to speak here. She said that the magic of this world will draw greed to it, and everything will fall into darkness and confusion. At that time the Promised One will come forth from the people and she will bring a new age. That is the legend."
"It was that time Neri gave us the sacred whale, wasn't it?"
"That is the legend."
"Do you believe it? Believe in the sacred whale, I mean? I don't think my uncle does."
"I have never seen her."
"I have. There was a shooting star that lit up the whole sky. Micro woke me up to see it.. That's when I saw the sacred whale, out beyond the cove."
"If you have seen her, you can believe." Neanda observed. He stood, strained his herb mixture into a stone jar, and put its cork in. Then he touched the candle to lights along the walls, lighting the cave to a warm hominess. Micro trotted in with his eyes lit up like a flashlight.
"Neri, the sacred whale has always been connected with the Promised One in stories."
"It can't be happening now; everything's peaceful. Except for the fliers and the amphibians but they're always feuding."
"Are Shema and Zardor at the palace today?"
"Shema is. I didn't see Zardor."
"Perhaps you should watch them."
"Did you hear something Neanda?"
"Laziah is worried. He sees trouble in the future."
Neri's eyes widened, "Tell me more."
"I know no more."
Laziah was not likely to get worried without reason. He was the wisest person Neri knew. "I'll watch, then."
"The sacred whale is the one who knows of this. Perhaps you should look for her."

But she did go seeking the sacred whale the next day, though she didn't admit to herself what she was doing.
"Morning, Micro! Let's go exploring today, uncle doesn't need us." Micro nodded. Neri got a crescent-shaped bag in case she found anything interesting, and they went out into the morning sea.
She was digging a shell bigger than her head out of the sand when she saw a shadow above her.
Music notes fell through the water. Neri stared up, frozen in an emotion like wonder or fear or maybe recognition. "Micro-that's-"
"Grr-wow!" Micro made bigeyes then dived his head into the sand. His tail wrote 'do not disturb' on the ground next to him.
Neri let herself drift upward. The sacred whale waited. Its huge bulk drifted impossibly graceful, perfect in the water as a bird was in the air. One great dark eye watched her. Neri didn't know what to do; she wanted to bow or kneel, but they were drifting free in the water. So she spoke. "Madam, I'm honored you came to me."
More music, notes flowing like silk, and this time it had meaning. The sacred whale offered her name, Mandrool, and a greeting.

"Are you ready to start searching?"
"No, not yet. Tomorrow at this time I believe I will be."
"All right."
"Father? Everything here has names. Do you have a name?"
"Do I?"
"I see."
"Tomorrow then."

"She said she needs my help. Neanda, I'm frightened. The sacred whale is so wise, what could she need my help for?"
Neanda thought for a minute. "The sacred whale is the keeper of wisdom. Someone else must act on that wisdom."
"... Am I the Promised One?"
"I do not know. If you would have my advice, do not tell any other that you have seen the sacred whale."
"Ok." Neri thought, "Why not?"
"If people come to believe the Promised One has appeared they will remember the time of darkness which was also foreseen. Their fear may bring that time of darkness to be."
"I... I see." Neri whispered.

Another night the sacred whale led her down a chasm, into the deeper sea. Later Neri would only remember dark translucent rocks, the glowing starfish like a reflection of the sky. A curtain of seaweed appeared in front of her, covering a hole in the canyon's side. Neri pushed through into a lower tunnel. It was almost totally dark, only a single beam of moonlight came through from above. In that light Neri could see a tree, a tree of coral and hanging in its branches a human shape. Neri saw pale arms and legs, and long hair fanned out in the water.
Neri stopped. She wasn't sure the other girl was even breathing. "Hey-are you all right? Wake up?"
Slowly, huge seagreen eyes opened. "Ne... ri?"
"Who are you?"
"Nobody." The word barely stirred the water. "I have no name. I think you are supposed to give me one."
"I can't, I don't even know you."
Neri thought for a long minute. The scene... reminded her of something from a picture book or a mosaic. She swam to the edge of the coral tree and reached through the branches. The nameless girl's hand felt fragile. "Gate.... Girl at the gate. I don't know how to say it like a name."
"Thank you."
"Who are you?" Neri asked again.
"Promised One..."
Neri woke up in her own bed. It was the middle of the night. She whispered into the darkness, "Mandrool... that girl..."
The sacred whale whispered patience. Neri went back to sleep.

Morning, and elsewhere...
"Yes. I will get it for you."

The palace trembled. Whispers spread through the throne room like ripples in water. Neri heard 'tide' and 'balance' and 'crystals.' Fear. She heard fear. Something is happening to the three crystals that control the balance of Oceanna... but the crystals are hidden! "Uncle..?" Neri whispered.
"It's all right." King Nemon told her. He pointed up one of the spiraling staircases. A person dressed in white was descending.
It was her. White satin on pale skin, heavy black hair and those eyes, huge and green as the sea.
The king stood and helped the girl down the last few steps. "Do not be afraid, my people. I give you the Promised One, Himemiya."