Okay. To me, there are two types of Disney. The first is the commercialized, "fun-for-the-whole-family image" you tend to see on a toddlers bed sheets and lunch boxes. It's innocent, and it's cute. The second is the authentic, researched retelling of classic literature, history and folklore. The very adult content seen only as part of innuendo's in your favorite Disney films. What I plan to do with this story is almost completely forget the former and focus entirely on the latter. While I will incorporate both Ariel and Jim's temperaments as accurately as possible, it'll still be pretty compromised. Most of Jim's back-story, for example, comes from Treasure Island. Also. I don't claim to be particularly good at the art of storytelling. Although I'd like to be, so reviews are MORE THAN WELCOME. I'm also contemplating putting this on deviantart. Yes? Maybe ol iesnoth might like. ;) Oh, and lastly, as a suggestion. The songs I choose at the openings of each chapter are what I feel sets the mood. Highly recommended.
"And I go where the trees go
And I walk from a higher education
For now and for hire."
-Joanna Newsom, En Gallop
The first signs of daylight crept across the forests of the island of Zealand, a soft glow of orange, warm and gradual, behind its mountain face. Cool lavender submitted to the rising red hues of dawn, the sun barely visible underneath its watercolor frame.
The trees were coming to life through the animated correspondence of its inhabitants, the spring birds chirping gaily amongst overhanging branches. They soared to and fro, engaging in the ritual of flirtation so common to the season, twirling and soaring with fleeting contact. Their movement brought about the descent of tiny drops of moisture, remnants of the previous nights storm.
And slowly, the sunlight's timeless influence set in on the world below.
The youth opened a bleary eye, the other shut tight from the impact of a stray droplet. He groaned, palming the hanging curtain of his hair from his face and surveying the newly lit scenery of his surroundings. Though beautiful, though tangible, it was not the place he'd visited only moments before. He'd been dreaming.
A fireplace. The smell of whisky and old leather. The bustling activity of disgruntled lodgers. His mother, barking orders so as to sustain the establishment.
The young man rose to his feet, all at once awake from the morning dew of the early hour. He inhaled, taking in the scent of pine, birchwood, and the neighboring seashore, unprepared for the drastic change of setting. His previous dreams were all but evaporating, the present sight, and the reality, of his whereabouts indisputable proof. The trees, the air, the soil… Yes, he thought, if only for the hundredth time, I'm far from home.
He took a small step forward, willing the blood to once again circulate throughout his body and do away with the stiff motionless of sleep. His heavy footfalls made their mark, and he hoped, albeit fleetingly, that eventually he would stop returning to the image of what he'd left behind. The night previous had been one of solitude and discovery, after all, the remains of both a fire and meager meal to show for it. Surveying the quiet scene spread out before him, he sighed, eyeing the rabbit carcass and blackened pile of ash that'd once been a roaring fire.. This new land was rich with wild terrain, and the time afforded for several moments of complete privacy. Despite the persistence of homesickness, this land was good to him.
He progressed through the underbrush.
He'd write to them, after all. He inquired about Dr. Livesey, the timid regular at he and his mother's beloved Admiral Benbow Inn. And the youth couldn't help but feel a tug at the corner of his lips at the thought. The doctor was as brilliant as he was socially inept. He would puzzle over fabricated theories, pouring endlessly into texts long since rectified; prove to the rest of them the sheer beauty of discovery…and all but fold into himself at the prospect of rejection.
Thank God for his wife, Amelia, and her assertive influence. The woman truly was the missing piece to an undeveloped genius.
His mother, to be sure, was always to be counted upon. Her son's departure did nothing to dissuade her optimism, or her uncanny ability to describe the Inn's mundane tasks with nothing short of hilarity.
If ever there was a woman who could turn a pirate's brawl into a heartfelt exchange of wedding stories, it was Sarah Hawkins.
The Danish palace could never be the embracing familiarity of Bristol, however. Compliance and accordance were seldom his shining virtues, the traits of a brash young man of 17 in their stead. As a result, he hadn't taken part in the royal festivities just the night before. Rather, he'd taken to the woodland just outside the palace walls.
He remembered watching the departure of the celebratory ship at nightfall, the pomp of this alien countries society toasting their glasses to their princes 28th birthday. Fireworks lit up the night sky. The raucous cacophony sung drunken, improvised appraisals. An enormous gift, the tell-tale shape of a statue, was situated on deck amongst the celebration like a pagan idol.
All of this, he supposed, was irrelevant to his purpose here. He'd come to be a sailor's apprentice, gaining experience by means of the Danish trade route. This role had been his to fulfill for, it seemed, his entire life. But the prospect of gallivanting on an evening cruise with the aristocracy, however close to his duties, was made all the more unattractive by the seemingly passive evening tide. They would hardly need him on that night.
But let it not be said that James Pleiades Hawkins was as sound of judgment as any. Not long after the commotion had died down, after the excitement had settled and his routine longing for the comforts of home subsided did he hear the first, low rumble of thunder expand over the horizon. So he'd taken cover, situating himself in a thicket of briar deep in the heart of the woodland. From overhead he watched the skies quake and the sea escalate to monstrous proportions. He watched gulls flying frantically overhead; lightning, sending even the sturdiest of creatures into hiding.
But for all its menace, like any weather, it was over. The sun was making quick work of the reparations. The creatures resumed their natural pattern. And here he was, strolling aimlessly, approaching the dividing line between the forests end and the beaches opening.
Nothing could've prepared the young traveler for the sight that awaited him.
There, sprawled and seemingly lifeless on the beach, lay the handsome prince of Denmark. His crisp, navy breeches were torn; his white cotton shirt was soaked and translucent. Not a detail stirred on His Highness's countenance.
Lying intimately at his side was a creature.
Undeniably a young woman, deep, crimson curls dripping over her naked shoulder, her cherubic face beaming at her unconscious captive. Her graceful hands traced shapes into his face, picking stray locks of ebony carefully away.
The on looking young man edged closer, pushing branches aside.
Her breasts were covered with an assortment of colorful shells and seaweed. He blushed, for he'd never seen so much bare flesh from a woman in his 17 years. Her waist was tiny; an hourglass physique; lending her what might've been the lithe figure of a dancer. Her skin was a perfectly contributed pallor, seeming to be both palest pink and blush underneath white.
He blinked. He blinked again. A third time.
Where her navel ended, began the scales of a fish, shining silver in the morning sunshine. It extended along her petite form, making her the height of a pubescent girl. And there, at the very end, was the undeniable sight of a glossy fin. It seemed to curl around the bare feet of the prince, moving this way and that the way a cat's would.
She continued to preen, and as James reached the forest soils end, he could hear a soft melody omitting from the sea nymphs lips.
It spoke of discovery, longing, timeless and knowing as the Earth itself. The haunting sound was both melancholy and loving, attempting ever so subtly to arouse the prince.
She dipped her head, hesitant but daring to touch her forehead to his, her little nose making the slow descent to contact.
Her lips pursed..
James lifted a foot, leaning his entire frame into the will to see everything..
He felt a fallen branch snap under his boot. The creature froze.
The moment was gone. Eternity disappeared. What replaced the reverie, the heady, triangular seduction of the last few minutes, was its undivided attention on her trespasser.