Aquius was the capital of our section of the sea, the ruler oversaw millions of mer-pods. Not just those living in the city, but the nomadic tribes as well. Here was where the academy for Siren and Triton. Siren and Triton were the guardians of the merfolk. Sirens were healers and mages in battle while Triton’s were warriors.
Tomorrow my mother would be taking me to the academy. My older brother and sister were there. My brother Acul was in Triton training, while my sister Salu was in Siren training. My two little sisters decided not to attend the academy, they wanted to live a normal life. As our mother and father had.
The training was hard to get into, you had to go to be tested to see if you magical talent was strong enough. Then they would look deeper to see how your magic would manifest. If it manifested internally you would go to Triton training. If it manifested externally you would go to Siren training. Both courses had a 95% to 5% ratio, Tritons were 95% male and 5% female, while Sirens were 95% female to 5% male. That was out of the total population of all the merfolk.
In all of Aquius, I was the only male siren. Even the academy didn’t currently have any males. There were some in other seas academies I supposed, but here I was the first. There was a lot of discrimination against me because of it. For some reason, people felt that it was wrong for me to be a siren, my babysitter when I was 9 attacked me stabbing me in the back before leaving me alone. There was a scar on my lower back from the incident.
As light filtered in through my window my eyes opened. Other than mother I was the only one of the family to rise this early. No matter when I woke though, mother would always be up and working on something. Sitting up in bed taking a moment to stretch, smiling at the thought that this was the day. Swimming out of bed, and placing my blanket folded on the bed. Then swimming into my adjoined cleaning area.
Swimming over to the cleaning area and grabbing a sea sponge as I swam by. Sitting on the rock and activating the magic in the room. The water warmed up, which felt good after a cool night. Pouring some cleaner on the sponge and using it to cleanse my scales a bit before setting the sponge aside and cleaning the rest of me. It didn't take me very long, before I was clean and I stopped the spell, allowing the temperature of the water to even out. Grabbing the bottle of scale oil, and applying it to my tail and forearms, to allow my scales to really shine.
Not that they needed much, my tail was a beautiful blue and silver mix. The silver was apparently a recessive gene from my grandmother. The rest of the family had blue white and or gold, in different patterns. My hair was long to my waist, it was a silver color, with a light blue tint to it. My eyes were a startling silver, another gift from my grandmother.
My body was slim but toned. Surprising because I didn’t exercise, mostly just swimming around, sometimes away from others. Even though there haven't been any more attacks there were a lot of bullies and generally rude people.
Running a comb through my hair to make it neater, and checking myself in the mirror. I left the room and headed to the family area. Our house wasn’t very large, but it was in one of the better areas. Well, one with a better view. Overall there weren’t really any bad areas. As a people, we worked to help others and others would help us in return.
There was a social system set up long ago with nobles and common people, and while it still mattered there wasn’t a "we are better than you feel to it." It was the nobles job to make sure that the sea was running smoothly and everyone was safe. As well as charging criminals. Though as a people there wasn’t a lot of crime in a mercity. Not every sea was like that, but our was a good one.
Swimming into the main room, mother was preparing some food for before we went to take me to the academy. She actually had gotten accepted to the siren school and went, but after graduating she decided she didn’t want that life and settled down with her beloved. Father was a hard worker who excelled at making nets. He would trade them for what he needed.
Grabbing some of the kelp that mother had placed out on the tray and eating it my mind turning to what was going to happen at school. Were they going to be mean and bully me too, or would they be understanding? It was one academy, but one side was for Tritons and the other was for Sirens. The Dorms were in the middle. So that they could get used to one another. A siren and Triton had to be able to trust the other.
After eating mother gave me a hug and lead me from the house. My father and two little sisters were out today because of an incident the other day and people were needed to help rebuild. My older brother and sister were already at the academy, they had to go back a week early to get settled so they could help when all of the new students showed up.
The academy was at the edge of the city and was humongous. There was a stream of merfolk trying to enter the academy. It was easy to see that there were going to be many new students this year. Not surprising since this was the only academy for this sea. Watching the younger students ahead of me, hoping against hope that there might be another male that headed towards the siren side.
After ten minutes we entered and all of the students going to the siren side were female. Sighing mother and I went that way, drawing a lot of attention. One couple tried to correct her, but my sister came swimming up and pulled me into a hug, my brother wasn’t too far behind, and he gave me a light hug.
We continued going to the admissions building for sirens and my brother left, he wasn’t allowed inside without permission.
Check in didn’t take to long because they had been expecting me. They were unsure where to put me because putting a male in a female dorm didn’t make a lot of sense, though without permission a siren couldn’t enter a triton dorm. It would be a pain if I needed to get permission every time I needed to enter the dorm. The headmaster was working on fixing the issue.
They had a room set aside for me, but I wouldn’t be able to stay in it long because the rest of the dorm wasn’t set for having a male. They would set aside a time for me to use the cleaning areas, but there would be other times that I would need it and it would be hard to find a place to go.
The room they were putting me in was next to my sister's room. The people who would be using it were currently crashing in my sister's room. Luckily they were all friends and offered for this to make it easier while trying to get me placed.
Giving my mother a hug, then following after my sister as she left the building to take me to my dorm. My bag was getting heavy and I couldn’t wait to put it down. Even if I wouldn’t be unpacking yet.
“Silves, they have sealed off one of the bathrooms on our floor for you to use. The girls talked about it, there are three and we decided it would work better to just set one up that you could use.”
“Thanks, Salu,” my voice was quite as I followed her.
We were on the fifth floor. All of these girls were in their fifth year of training. The school was ten years starting when we were 14.
There were a few who were not happy to see me but they stayed back. Fighting on school grounds was a major break in the rules. Never had I been surrounded by so many people. Salu was introducing me to everyone and they were gushing over me, calling me cute and pulling me into hugs. It took us ten minutes to get to my room.
There were so many new people and such a positive reaction surprised me. Given the way, I had been treated outside of the school. These were the older kids though. Who knew how student my own age would act. There would be an opening ceremony tomorrow. They would look for a triton to pair me with, though I doubted many would want to room with me. Sighing and leaving the room, following after my sister as she showed me around the campus. We had stopped in the main square between the two dorm rooms and Acul was coming towards us.
His eyes widened, as something slammed into me knocking me to the ground. It rolled with me, and when we stopped rolling there was a young boy laying on top of me. His coloring was black, red and gold. It was a beautiful combination. His eyes were the same as his hair and tail.
“I’m so sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going. I’m Echo, so you're a Triton too, cool.” Echo swam up and held out a hand to help me up.
“I’m Silves, and I’m in the Siren program.”
“A male Siren, that’s rare, but good luck. Getting to room with all the ladies, you must be happy.”
“They are trying to find me a spot in the Triton dorm, but currently I have a room to myself.”
“Still lucky, the only man on campus who can swim with the Sirens. If we didn’t have to change to being a siren there are probably a lot of guys who would like to switch with you to get onto the other side of campus.”
“It’s the being a siren that stops a lot of them, I guess.”
“True, Sorry for running into you, hope everything works out.”
Watching as he swam away, Acul and Salu showing me around all of the general areas on campus. The classroom areas weren’t open yet. They wanted to get us settled. Just as I was about to be overwhelmed with introductions Salu took me back to the door and let me into my room telling me to have a good night.
Looking out the window, I remembered Echo from earlier. That had been the most natural conversation I’d had in a while. He seemed really okay with me and it had caught me off guard. Though maybe it helped that he had crashed into me first.
Normally I was much more shy with new people, but I had felt safe with my siblings there. Sighing and laying down on the bed, hoping that tomorrow would be easy and there wouldn’t be a lot of people who discriminated against me. Pulling the covers up hoping to do well at this school, wanting to show everyone I could be a good siren even if I was a boy.
Gnawing my lip, and sitting up. Moving over to the window to look out at the campus and taking in the sight trying to calm my nerves. There were still a lot of merfolk swimming about. Since finding out about being a siren and the way that I had been treated had changed my personality. Before I had been outgoing and happy, now I was shy and withdrawn.
A flash of Black, Red, and Gold drew my attention to the boy who had slammed into me earlier, Echo if I remembered correctly. He was the first Triton to talk nicely to me. Smiling slightly wondering what would happen, watching as the light dimmed and the night started.
The pale light of the moon casting everything in silvery colors. Even though I’d never gone to the surface to see the moon, there had been many paintings of it in the museum mother would take me too.
While we were in the ocean, this city was not too far from the surface. Most mer-cities were twice this depth. The town was built around the academy. We do some training at and near the surface so it was better to start closer. We were about half a mile from the surface, it wasn’t too far below where the city was that sunlight didn’t penetrate anymore. We had moved to the city about six years ago when my brother and sister were accepted into the academy. And we're able to find a really good area to build our house.
My eyes opened as sunlight filtered in through the window. Looking around realizing that I had fallen asleep looking out the window. Blushing slightly and swimming to the door poking my head out. There were already a few girls in the hall. One of them I had met yesterday, she was one of Salu’s friends. Though her name escaped me, there had been too many introductions yesterday. Salu probably didn’t think I’d leave my room today. She knew I was shy around new people.
It hadn't always been that way. When I was younger I wasn’t as shy. Everyone was nice to me, back then I wanted to be a Triton. My magic wasn’t suitable for Triton training though. Many people said I should give up and not enter to train as a Siren. Lots of bullying had made me wary of new people. It wasn’t as bad when my family was around. They often stuck up for me.
“Hey Silves, you okay?”
Looking up I saw the girl from yesterday she looked concerned. I realized I was pressed into the wall and on the floor. My head had been resting on my tail that I had pulled up to me to try and hide.
Salu came dashing out of her room a moment later, her friend beside her as she swam over to me. Pulling me into a hug.
“Too many new people?” she asked.
Nodding she held me tighter. “I know it is a lot to take in Silves, but know that we support you. There are some here who won't, but most of us will. Even a lot of the Tritons support you. Your brother talked to them, he is very popular.”
“I know, I’m just nervous around so many people. I’m sure I will get more used to it as time goes on. If the bullying stops that should help as well.”
“We will help with that. Now go get cleaned up,” she said helping me get up and pushing me lightly towards the bathroom with my name written next to it.
I thought our paper and Ink were fascinating. They used seaweed to create the paper but used magic to make it work how they wanted it. For ink, they used squid ink which was also refined with magic. Mother had taken me once to watch the process and it was really fun to watch.
Cleaning up and getting ready for the morning didn’t take long. Today would be an opening ceremony then tomorrow would be the beginning of classes. Even while swimming out of the bathroom, I was fidgeting with my hair. It was down to my waist and as long as I wasn’t moving it would cover the scar on my back. Salu wasn’t in the hallway. Looking around not sure what to do, I swam out the door and down to the campus.
After a few minutes of drifting around the common area, Salu appeared next to me. She showed me where to go for orientation before heading off on her own. The room was crowded, and thankfully everyone was mixed together. These were all the first years, that were starting about 100 Tritons and 100 Sirens were in this class. They were not overly large. As merfolk live for a long time unless we are killed, so our birth rates correspond to that or we would overpopulate. Though if you wanted a child it wouldn’t be too hard to have one. There were medicins you could take to help.