Once upon a time there was a knight. He was an old knight, one that could no longer fight after being injured once too often. Near the knight’s home there was a small farm. The knight and the farmer were both old and fast friends. They had seen many hardships and many battles together, though the battles had been in very different roles. When both of their wives became pregnant the two men celebrated together with toasts and congratulations.
It was on an unremarkable day in March that both women gave birth to their children. To the farmer was born a son named Jack and to the knight was born a daughter named Emily. It would be a lie if anyone told you that the children were any more handsome, wise or brave than any other children. In fact the children fell firmly in the range normal that you could expect any random person to fall in.
Jack and Emily were the best of friends during their childhood. The minutes that they were apart they were the best of children. Sadly, for their parents, during the hours they were together they spent either causing mischief or planning mischief. They were actually quite good at it.
Over the years they grew up together. They both eventually gained younger siblings, but none shared a birthday like Emily and Jack nor were any as close as the two. They learnt lessons, they became responsible, but nothing ever truly broke the bond shared between them.
On one particular spring they both fell in love, though it was not with each other. Their first loves were not particularly wicked or cruel people, but as with many things they were just not meant to last. Jack was Emily’s fourth love and Emily was Jack’s third. Both were well aware that there would be difficulties with their love even if there had been no problems with their friendship.
The two planned carefully together. They discussed different possibilities and worked as much out as they could before they told their families of their love for each other and their intention to marry. The old knight did not take the announcement very well. In fact, he took it so poorly that he forced Jack to serve on a ship, whether Jack wanted to or not.
People would tell the story that Emily was so distraught over her love being sent to sea that she threw herself off a cliff and into the sea. The people that tell those stories do Emily a great disservice. It is true that she was not happy about the situation and that she did fight with her father over it. She was also well aware that being sent to sea was not a permanent separation and that they could see each other when Jack’s ship made port. The truth was that Emily tripped when taking a walk along the cliffs. A tragic accident brought on by her walking too close to the edge, but it was far from a purposeful suicide attempt.
Jack did not learn of this until almost a year later. Of course he cried and cursed the name of the knight, but like most humans the pain slowly grew less until finally it was a dull ache that only hurt when he thought of it. Still, returning to land did not seem right anymore. He continued to serve on the ship as his younger siblings took over his parents’ farm.
It was during a strong storm that Jack was knocked overboard and into the sea. Blood flowed freely from the torn skin on his head. He knew that he should swim, but the thought was a distant as a hazy dream and his limbs did not move. It was then that he saw the mermaid.
She swam to him, put her lips to his and forced sweet air into his lungs. With her strong arms wrapped around him she swam to the entrance of underwater caves, where the mermaids and mermen lived. There was air that any human could breathe in the underwater caves.
Perhaps Jack had found love at first sight, perhaps he was grateful to having his life saved or perhaps he had just hit his head too hard, but he instantly dropped on one knee and proposed marriage to the mermaid. While the mermaid did have a reason for saving him outside of altruism, she was so surprised that she said “yes”.
The two talked as the storm raged on the surface. Together they laughed about the concussed proposal and the shocked acceptance. Neither had plans to hold the other to it. The mermaid, whose name was Koi, revealed to him the reason she had been near his ship and why she rescued him. She had an invitation for him to Emily’s wedding.
For when Emily had fallen off the cliff she was rescued by a merman and eventually the two fell in love with each other. She had wanted her beloved child hood friend and fourth love to be there for the marriage.
Jack returned to the surface with Koi's help and yelled his goodbyes to his shipmates. With the noise from the ship and the waves Jack was not entirely sure that they had heard him clearly. When he thought they had the general idea he left with Koi. They traveled together to the underwater city that Emily now lived in. Along the way Koi showed him all sorts of wonders that existed in the ocean.
Of course Jack felt a little wistful and sad about the wedding, but at the same time he was overjoyed that Emily had found the love of her life. When she got married he was there with a smile and all of his well wishes.
In the end Jack chose not to return to the surface. He stayed and made many friends among the mermen and the mermaids. While he did spend time with Emily, and of course they were still mischievous, he spent most of his time with Koi.
Jack and Koi traveled together. They shared the legends and myths of their worlds. The two shared many an adventure and helped each other in times of trouble. Neither had ever been happier.
The second time he asked Koi to marry him he did not have a concussion. This time her agreement was not a result of being surprised.