This is a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story. Sections are numbered; each one tells you which section to read next, depending on your choices. Start from section 1.
There are many sudden endings, so remember the number of the last section you read so you can backtrack and try another option if you want to.
At the very end there is a Mermaid/English dictionary for those who are curious.
1) You and Tobin wander along the cliff tops watching the water below swell and recede, chatting and enjoying the salty ocean air. Suddenly your friend stops in his tracks and points at something. "Look!"
A feminine figure with long black hair leans back on a dry rock, her fish tail half in the water ... a mermaid! She hasn't noticed you yet, so you duck out of sight, urging Tobin to do the same.
"Can you imagine cuddling a mermaid?" you ask. He smirks, and you elbow him in the ribs. "Not like that! Get your mind out of the gutter Tobin. She is clothed, if you didn't notice. I just mean holding her in my arms and, you know ... cuddling."
He looks at you doubtfully. "Well, go on then!"
You could: stand up and get the mermaid's attention (7), find a way down the cliff (12), look for something to give her as a present (9) or go back to town and do some mermaid research (5).
2) You casually put your arm around her. She instantly stiffens and gives you a reproving look. "Ma latorna!" she says in her own language, and you remove your arm immediately. She continues gazing at her reflection for a while, then turns to you and says, "Danku". With a polite nod she slips into the water and vanishes into the depths.
3) You gather a bunch of pretty flowers and make your way down to the beach, then hop along the rocks towards the mermaid. When you are about thirty feet away she looks up in fright, so you hold out the flowers. Her expression changes to a smile and she beckons you over.
You sit down beside her and hand her the flowers. She takes a bite of one and spits it out, then throws the rest away, looking a little disappointed.
Do you: go back to town and get her something to eat (11) or start a conversation (14)?
4) You sneak up on her from behind and wrap your arms around her waist. She gasps and wriggles out of your grasp, slapping you in the face with a look of disgust, then dives into the water. She surfaces about twenty feet away and gives you one last scornful look before vanishing into the depths.
It's possible this may not have been the best approach.
5) "I want to find out more about mermaids first", you tell Tobin. "She might not be here when you get back!" he objects, but tags along after you.
You consult the town library and find a book on mermaid society. You learn a lot of useful information, but when you head back to the place you first saw her, there is no trace of the mermaid. You revisit the spot a few more times, but without success. It seems you have lost your chance to cuddle a mermaid.
6) You make your way across the rocks to the mermaid, excited to give her the present. She sees you coming and looks very wary. Before she can dive back in the water, you wave the gift above your head and yell, "I have something for you!"
Her expression changes to one of curiosity, and you come and sit beside her. You say, "This is for you!" and hand her the broken mirror.
She gasps with delight and grabs it from you. Soon she is utterly preoccupied with the mirror, tilting her head and adjusting her hair in various ways. You attempt to strike up a conversation, but she is too fascinated with her reflection to respond.
Do you: cover the mirror with your hand (18), put your arm around her (2) or wait until she has finished looking in the mirror (22)?
7) Taking a deep breath, you stand up and wave at the mermaid, but she doesn't look in your direction. She seems precoccupied with something in her hands. You shout "Hey!" but the wind is too strong to carry your voice very far.
Do you want to: find a way down the cliff (12) or look for something to give her as a present (9).
8) You shout, "Hello!" The mermaid turns around in surprise, and you raise your hands in a friendly gesture. She watches you suspiciously.
Do you: sit down beside her (30) or remain at a distance (26)?
9) "I think mermaids like presents," you tell Tobin. He leaves you to it, asking for a full report later on.
You go a little further along the cliff line where you know a way down to a beach, and notice a patch of pretty purple flowers growing nearby.
Will you collect some flowers for her (3) or see what you can find on the beach (13)?
10) You wait until the crab is by your feet then make a grab for it. You do manage to catch it, but it pinches you on the thumb with a large claw and you drop it. "Ow!!" you cry, sucking your wounded thumb.
The mermaid laughs, but not cruelly. "Pre nasia to filorto!" she says with a smile, and beckons you over. You sit by her side, and she takes you hand in hers and she puts a piece of seaweed on it. It feels better immediately.
Do you: give her hand a gentle squeeze (21) or take your hand back (27)?
11) You say, "Wait here, I'll be back!" She stares at you blankly.
You head back up to the cliff and back into town as quickly as you can, and fill up a basket with bread, apples, fish (surely mermaids like fish?) and a small bottle of wine.
You hurry back to the spot, but alas, there is no sign of her. You wait around for a while, then dejectedly head back home again. Oh well, maybe next time.
12) You find your way down between the rocks, and soon reach your destination. The mermaid still has her back to you.
Do you: call out to her (8), move somewhere she can see you (15) or surprise her with a cuddle from behind (4)?
13) You make your way down to the sheltered beach and look around for something a mermaid might like. There are some sea shells, some odd shaped pieces of driftwood, a few polished rocks ... nothing really stands out though.
Then you notice something half buried in the sand. It turns out to be a bronze hand held mirror. The metal has turned green and half the glass is missing, but who knows.
Do you: collect some sea shells for her (17) or take the broken mirror (6)?
14) "So ... what's it like to be a mermaid?" you ask. "Te vuna. Isa shay tisalo," she replies with a sigh.
"Oh. OK." There seems to be a communication problem.
Go to section 24.
15) You slowly move to a position the mermaid will notice you. She looks up with a start and seems ready to dive into the ocean. You stop and raise your hands in a friendly gesture, and she seems to relax a little.
The water has a beautiful colour and looks pretty inviting from where you are, if a little rough. Maybe it would impress her if she sees that you like water?
Do you: go for a little swim (19), approach her (30) or keep your distance (23)?
16) You give her one last wave and stand up. As you start to leave, she grabs your foot and puts down the mirror at last. She looks up at you with big green eyes and says, "Ma. Ivno". You sit back down beside her.
17) You gather a few interesting looking sea shells and head over the rocks towards the mermaid. She sees you coming, and looks like she is about to dive back into the water. You say, "Wait!" and hold out the shells.
She cocks her head, then beckons you over. You see that she already has some beautiful shells in her hands.
She takes your shells and looks at them one by one, tossing each one over he shoulder. None of them seem to pass the test. She pats the ground next to her, and you take it as an invitation to sit.
She hands you a shiny shell with a mother of pearl rainbow sheen.
Do you: throw it over your shoulder (35), thank her and put it in your pocket (29) or examine the shell then give it back (32)?
18) You cover the mirror with your hand, and she pulls it away possessively, reminding you of a dog with a bone. "Hey, it's OK! Just trying to get your attention." She pouts a little and goes back to looking in the mirror.
You decide to try another tactic. Moving behind her, you place your head near hers so your reflection appears in the mirror too, and give her a little wave. She smiles and waves back.
Now that you have her attention again, do you: wave goodbye and leave her to it (16), wait for her to finish what she's doing (22) or give her a shoulder massage (25)?
19) You kick off your shoes and remove your shirt, then look for a suitable place to enter the water. Some strong waves hit the rocks occasionally, so you need to time your entry carefully. You find the right moment and jump in.
And regret it instantly. The water is rougher than you imagined, and your feet keep hitting something sharp you can't see. A large wave crashes over you, disorienting you completely. You don't know which way is up.
Strong arms come out of nowhere and pull you to the surface. The mermaid is a lot stronger than she looks, and drags you up onto the smooth rock. You cough and sputter, then open your eyes. Two big green eyes stare down at you.
"Mashfal! Te kona lasivu," she says strongly.
You notice blood on your feet. She wraps them both in seaweed, which soon takes away the pain. You retrieve your shoes and shirt, then sit by her on the rock again.
20) You try pointing to some more things ... a shell ("mita"), the sky ("avenosri"), your head ("ma selki"). You try miming a cuddle by hugging yourself and closing your eyes with a smile, and she says "Mashfa sae". Now we're getting somewhere!
"Mashfa sae?" you repeat, and she laughs. "Katura."
You try stringing a few more words together. "Arayna mashfa sae?" She pushes you playfully and shakes her head. "Ma! To vae".
That seems to be the limit of your communications for now.
Do you: hold her hand (34) or look into her eyes (37)?
21) You give her hand a tender squeeze and she looks up in surprise. There is a serious look in her eyes. "Ma shiva itano," she explains.
She hands you another clump of seaweed for your sore thumb, then dives into the ocean.
22) You wait ... and wait ... and wait some more. The mermaid keeps adjusting her hair and tilting her head.
Eventually another mermaid head pops out of the water about ten feet away. "Ilamorna siska?"
Your one says "Iffanri! Isha menwui," and waves the mirror. The other replies, "Ooa ... Simu?"
Your mermaid shakes her head vigourously and clutches onto the mirror possessively. "Ma!" she cries out, then dives into the water with a big splash.
Oh well ... it was nice just being close to a real life mermaid for a while. Maybe it could happen again some day.
23) You keep your distance from the mermaid, and she goes back to what she was doing -- you can't quite see from this angle, but she seems to be looking at something in her hands.
After a while she takes one last look at you then slips into the water and swims away. At least you can say you've been close to a real mermaid!
24) You seem to be left with a quandry ... how to communicate wanting to cuddle the mermaid without offending her. Perhaps she needs to make the first move.
You point to yourself and say your name. She repeats it in her endearing mermaid accent, then points to herself. "Isa kiovana Arayna." You repeat it and she giggles. "Arayna. Mio Arayna."
You have her full attention. Do you want to: learn some more words (20), try holding her hand (34) or just look into her eyes (37)?
25) You place your hands on her shoulders, and squeeze gently. She wriggles away and looks at you in shock. "Ma latorna!" she says fiercely, and dives into the ocean.
26) Not wanting to frighten her, you stay where you are. "It's OK, I won't hurt you", you tell her. She makes no reply.
She goes back to examining something in her hands, but is clearly watching you out of the corner of her eye.
A movement catches your attention -- a fairly large crab comes out from behind a nearby rock, making its way over to a pool.
Do you: try and catch the crab (10) or ignore it and keep waiting (23)?
27) You withdraw your hand and nurse it. The seaweed helps a lot, and the pain soon fades away.
"Elkom!" she replies.
28) You involuntarily take in a lungful of sea water and feel like you are about to drown, but something is very different -- you can breathe underwater! It's a strange sensation, to say the least.
Arayna pulls you along at quite an amazing speed. She surfaces every so often, and you catch a glimpse of some dolphins nearby. Plunging back under, you make out a pod of about twenty of them.
Your underwater guide suddenly stops. She takes a deep breath (or the underwater equivalent), and emits a high pitched squeel. A few of the dolphins turn and head in your direction.
The dolphins are very interested in you, and gently prod you with their long noses. Arayna strokes them as they pass by. After a while she guides your hand to one of their fins. On cue, the dolphin pulls you both along at high speed then surfaces -- you're too much of a load for it to fully jump out of the water, but it's still a wild ride.
Your mermaid friend notices your exhaustion and brings you back to the rock to rest. "Ila vae selki" she says, stroking the hair out of your eyes.
Go to section 40.
29) "Thank you!" It's a beautiful shell -- you can't wait to show it to your family back home. You put it in your pocket.
The mermaid looks dismayed. "To menui. Ila sireto!"
Blushing, you return the shell to her. "Sorry, I thought it was a gift."
She pokes her tongue out at you and dives into the ocean.
30) You walk straight towards her and jump onto her rock, but the mermaid seems frightened by your bold approach and dives into the ocean. Maybe next time ...
31) "Mae," she says, looking disappointed.
She looks into your eyes and says, "Isa betui vae melusa."
Giving your hand a quick squeeze, she dives off the rock and vanishes into the depths.
You're not sure what just happened, but spending time with a mermaid was an experience you'll never forget.
32) The shell is very beautiful; it's spiral shaped with lots of chambers. You place it gently back in her hands.
"Ikala se ovra talio," she remarks.
33) Arayna rolls onto her side to face you. "Vae lasa tio. Nae ... melusa ma shiva?"
She seems to be expecting a response. Do you say: "shiva" (43), "ma shiva" (42) or "melusa ma shiva" (36)?
34) You tentatively put your hand on top of hers. She doesn't react, but gazes out into the ocean.
Suddenly she points into the distance. "Efina!" You're not sure what she is pointing at, but she seems excited about it.
Arayna gives your hand a tug and asks, "Anri efina?" There is a hopeful look in her eyes.
Do you: nod your head "yes" (38) or shake your head "no" (31)?
35) You throw the shell casually over your shoulder like she did with yours. She gasps and reaches out to catch it, then pushes you off her rock.
You return home wondering if things might have gone better.
36) Arayna breaks into a huge smile and throws herself into your arms, almost knocking you off the rock. She nuzzles her head into your neck and squeezes you tightly, then runs her hands all around your back. It's a wonderful sensation, and makes you feel light headed. You treasure every moment.
After a while she stops moving her hands, and you just relax in each other's arms.
Eventually the sun begins to set, and a cold breeze makes you shiver. Arayna rubs your arms to warm you up, then holds you tightly again.
She looks up at you and says, "Olu navrae isha! Nae shal stro." With those words, she flips off the rock and into the water. For a moment you think she has gone, then she leaps out of the water like a dolphin and dives back in with a big splash.
She surfaces again a bit further away, and after one last wave goodbye, returns to her ocean home.
37) You look deeply into the mermaid's eyes. They are an intense green, with flecks of grey and amber. She holds your gaze for a while without flinching. "Savo vae ma selki ..."
Something catches her attention out in the ocean. "Efina!" she cries, and dives into the water.
She reappears about ten feet away, and asks, "Anri efina?"
Do you: dive in after her (41) or wait to see what happens next (39)?
38) Arayna is delighted. She takes a firm hold of your arm and, without any warning, pulls you off the rock into the water.
Go to section 28.
39) Looking a little disappointed, Arayna waves goodbye and dives beneath the waves. Your mermaid adventure is over.
40) You lie back on the rock in exhaustion. Arayna rests her tail on your leg and gazes at you for a while, then closes her eyes and lies down too.
The cry wakes you with a start, and you sit up. Another mermaid swims nearby. "Ina vae toru?"
Arayna replies, "Mio se shafu".
The other mermaid says, "Lasa kae!"
Your mermaid frowns. "Kat aorna."
The visitor laughs and splashes you both, then swims away.
Go to section 33.
41) The waves look a little scary, but you take a breath and dive in after her. A sudden surge sends you tumbling and you start to panic, then you feel the mermaid's hand on your arm.
42) Arayna nods and smiles. "Katura vae melusa".
She reaches over and strokes your arm affectionately, then leans in for a hug. You happily embrace her as she nuzzles her head into your neck.
After a while, she looks up and says, "Sa iffan. Toru maha!"
Arayna gives you one last squeeze, then flips backwards into the water with a splash. She disappears for a moment, then resurfaces twenty feet away and waves goodbye before disappearing into the depths.
43) Arayna looks dismayed and pulls away. She says "Tarino", then dives into the water without another word.
Mermaid / English dictionary
anri - play (with)
aorna - mouth
avenosri - clouds
betui - wish, desire, longing
danku - immitation of English "thank you"
efina - dolphins
elkom - immitation of English "welcome"
filorto - claws
iffan - fun, enjoyable
iffanri - thrilled
ikala - difficult
ila - now, immediately
ilamorna - do well
ina - what
isa - my
isa shay tisalo - just my luck
isha - this (thing)
itano - a couple, pair
ivno - stay
kae - more (than)
kat - shut, close
katura - possibly, maybe
kiovana - name
kona - need (to)
lasa - appear, seem
lasivu - impress, look good
latorna - OK, permitted
ma - no, not, non-
mae - expression of disappointment
maha - again
mashfa - crazy
mashfal - fool, idiot
melusa - understand
menwui - mine
mio - just, only
mita - nautilus
nae - but
navrae - get used to, become accustomed to
olu - can, could
ooa - ooh!
ovra - find
pre nasia - be careful, watch out (for)
sae - person, being
sa - was; a thing in the past
savo - unfortunate, a pity
se - (adds "ing" to next word)
selki - mermaid, merman
shafu - rest
shal - must, necessary (to)
shay - (see: isa shay tisalo)
shiva - romantic
simu - share
sireto - give, return
siska - sister
stro - end, stop
talio - perfect, flawless
tarino - sorry
te - no, nothing
tio - nice, good
tisalo - (see: isa shay tisalo)
to - that, those
toru - do, make
vae - you
vuna - words, language
Start here. Have fun!
@respectful This is a fun idea! Thank you for sharing it.
For those who prefer not to jump around, here is one path through the story (with translations).
Do you: go back to town and get her something to eat (11) or start a conversation (14) ?
14) "So ... what's it like to be a mermaid?" you ask. "Te vuna. Isa shay tisalo," [No language. Just my luck] she replies with a sigh.
You point to yourself and say your name. She repeats it in her endearing mermaid accent, then points to herself. "Isa kiovana Arayna." [My name is Arayna] You repeat it and she giggles. "Arayna. Mio Arayna." [Arayna. Just Arayna]
20) You try pointing to some more things ... a shell ("mita"), [nautilus] the sky ("avenosri"), [clouds] your head ("ma selki"). [non-mermaid] You try miming a cuddle by hugging yourself and closing your eyes with a smile, and she says "Mashfa sae". [crazy person] Now we're getting somewhere!
"Mashfa sae?" [crazy person] you repeat, and she laughs. "Katura." [possibly]
You try stringing a few more words together. "Arayna mashfa sae?" [Arayna is a crazy person] She pushes you playfully and shakes her head. "Ma! To vae". [No! That's you]
Suddenly she points into the distance. "Efina!" [dolphins!] You're not sure what she is pointing at, but she seems excited about it.
Arayna gives your hand a tug and asks, "Anri efina?" [play with the dolphins?] There is a hopeful look in her eyes.
Your mermaid friend notices your exhaustion and brings you back to the rock to rest. "Ila vae selki" [now you are a merman] she says, stroking the hair out of your eyes.
The cry wakes you with a start, and you sit up. Another mermaid swims nearby. "Ina vae toru?" [what are you doing?]
Arayna replies, "Mio se shafu". [just resting]
The other mermaid says, "Lasa kae!" [looks like more!]
Your mermaid frowns. "Kat aorna." [shut your mouth]
33) Arayna rolls onto her side to face you. "Vae lasa tio. Nae ... melusa ma shiva?" [your seem nice. But ... understand not romantic?]
She seems to be expecting a response. Do you say: "shiva" (43), "ma shiva" (42) [not romantic] or "melusa ma shiva" (36)?
42) Arayna nods and smiles. "Katura vae melusa". [Maybe you do understand]
After a while, she looks up and says, "Sa iffan. Toru maha!" [This was fun! We will do it again]