Nessa lay down on the grassy hillside, letting the sound of the waves below her echo in her ears. She liked Saltmarsh so far. The people were so friendly! Her room at The Wicker Goat wasn’t big, but it was clean. She made sure to make the bed every morning, too.
Not that sleeping outside, in the crook of a tree, was a bad thing. The temple bed had been hard, and the one at the wizarding school was way too narrow. There was even a small window in her room here, that she could open and let the night air come inside.
She’d delivered the bread and her boss gave her the rest of the day off. She went to the market, picking up a couple of pretty hair pins and a new pouch, then got a meat pie from Lankus before heading to the grassy knoll to have lunch. The barmaid at the inn, Jerrika, said they were going to host some organized bar fights outside later tonight. Nessa had no idea what those were, but they sounded exciting!
Something about the waves changed, and she sat up. A figure was rising from the water. Another Triton? Was it Varas’s husband, come to find him at last? The person waded toward the beach and Nessa signed, disappointed. It was a young woman, and not a Triton. Merfolk?
“Hey! Up here!” She stood up and waived her arms in the air at her as she emerged fully from the sea. “Are you hungry? I’ve got extra!”
The young woman nodded and climbed up toward her.
“Here you go,” Nessa said, offering her half of the pie.
“Thank you,” she said.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Serena Gem. Who are you?”
“My name’s Nessandra, but my friends call me Nessa. Do you have somewhere to stay? Why did you come to Saltmarsh? There’s a Triton in town, too! He works for Berra, the baker. Do you know any Tritons?”
Serena blinked, “I reached the age where all Merfolk in my family are required to go into the world of the surface dwellers and find their path. I don’t know any Tritons, though. They don’t live in our village. If you know of a place I can stay at, that would be helpful.”
“When you’re done, I’ll take you to meet Lankus. I’m staying at his inn. They’re having bar fights tonight! I don’t know what those are, but they sound fun.”
“I’d like that.”
Nessa smiled. “I think we’re going to be great friends, Serena.”