[image description: An underwater scene slanting rays of light illuminate a ragged rocky coast. A striped and fiercely-clawed mermaid with a swirling tail swims amid shining silver fishes. Text reads, “#11, Bewariel, the small god of Not-So-Little-Mermaids”]
All gods of the sea are gods of hunger in one way or another.
Gods of drowning. Gods of the deeps. Gods of thirst—for who, surrounded by saltwater, can find a single drop to drink? Gods of everything but plenty. The sea is the greatest cornucopia the world can even know, filled with fish and seaweed and salt enough to season the sky, but nothing there is free for the taking.
Once upon a time, in this glorious feast of silver and salt, there was a sea king whose daughter fell in love with a human prince and followed him to the shore, where only death, despair, and the dry death of the unwanted waited for her.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved a boy, a girl who was a dream of a man who loved a man, and both found themselves voiceless in the face of their futures. And one was real and one a dream, but as time went by, it became harder and harder for the world to know which had been which. And the man was glorified and had all his rough edges sanded away by the sea, and the girl was given the happy ending he could never have given her, until his original creation faded away. Like seafoam.
Rough edges and unwanted girls must go somewhere. No story is ever truly, totally forgotten. And in the shadow of all the voiceless ones, the ones who yearned to be remembered, the ones whose love had been denied, she formed.
Bewariel, small god of not-so-little mermaids. She has the teeth and claws her charges do not; she has the power to defend herself, and them. She hears the prayers of the voiceless, and she comes, on fins of sapphire and silver, to do what must be done. She is the answer and she is the question and she is all that remains of a girl who loved not wisely but too well, who shattered in the shadow of the sea.
Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: