In later years, it was largely believed that Fair Isle, a tiny spit of an island between Sumburgh Head and Mainland, Shetland, which would eventually be claimed by Scotland, was originally settled by Bronze Age traders.
The real story was first withheld and then lost to history. Truth be told, Nordic raiders used Fair Isle as a hiding place for their plunder. By the ninth century, the Isle would become a legitimate Norse settlement, but hundreds of years earlier, it was the site of treasure, home of marauders, and a monument to a fearsome curse.
Eerikki, whose name ironically meant “King Forever,” had led his crew of raiders against trading vessels in these waters for nigh onto five years. They had been profitable years, and the crew was loyal to him mainly for that reason.
He was a harsh and cruel man, eager with the whip if you didn’t obey him fast enough. He not only robbed and sunk merchant traders, he tortured their Captains by fire in front of their crews, then had his men slaughter the lot of them before scuttling their vessels.
On the return voyage to Fair Isle, the ship’s holds bulging with treasure, they came upon a small island, really no more than a rock jutting up from the frigid sea.
“Behold, Captain.” Frey was the lookout that watch. He pointed at the amazing sight.
“Behold indeed,” Eerikki mused. What appeared to be a fair maiden, one bedecked with precious jewels and metals worth a King’s ransom, was perched on that stone waving to them.
Besides the jewels, gold, and silver, she wore not a stitch. The men had been long months without the company of female pleasure, so they cared less how she got out here, and more on their lustful desires for her.
“Kind sirs,” she cried out as they drew nearer. “Could you rescue a poor maiden who is in great distress?”
Her smile was alluring, in rough contrast to her stated request. Her ample breasts rose and fell as she breathed, her erect nipples suggesting they were aroused as much by passion as by the cold.
“Lower a boat and be quick about it, you mongrels. Eerikki will go after her himself.”
The men knew he wanted first pleasure with young, supple flesh, but it didn’t matter, as long as the Captain brought her back afterwards to service the crew.
Eerikki climbed down to the boat, and with the strength of a man too long without a woman’s caress, he alone rowed the vessel out to the rock and the damsel.
He drew near enough to toss a rope. “I can not tie up to your perch. You must leap aboard.”
It was only then that the legs Eerikki supposed were tucked behind her seated form, emerged as the tail of a fish.
“By the gods, a mermaid.” He’d only heard tales, rumors really, of such things, and only from men who sailed seas much further south.
With a bewitching grin, she shunned the rope and instead dove into the freezing sea, only to re-emerge next to his boat. Amazing power not evidenced in slim, shapely arms, allowed her to haul herself inside with the Captain.
“Oh please take me to your mighty ship, Eerikki. I would love to visit you and your men, and hear the tales of your adventures and conquests.”
It had been his intent to rape her then and there, but the fact that she had no neither parts for such a purpose stifled his plan. Her fascinating smile and deep, emerald eyes enchanted him, and quite against his will, he turned the boat about and headed back whence he came, this time bearing mythical cargo.
He tossed his rope up over the railing and turned to help the legless mer-creature up to the deck. Surprisingly, the fish tail was gone. She stood before him nude, a figure of alabaster loveliness, clothed only in rubies, sapphires, gold, and ivory.
“I’ll follow you up, Eerikki.”
At no time did it occur to the Captain to ask how she knew his given name.
He was over the railing and on desk before he heard her efforts of ascent. At that moment, a dark storm cloud blew in, obscuring the Sun. A cold wind rose up, and the sound of wailing, a strange and alien song, seemed to come from the ocean all around them.
She crawled over the rail, and though still four limbed, those limbs were covered in green fish scales. Her once beautiful face and body now had the appearance of a hideous sea beast.
“So you found the beauty of Princess Muirgen pleasing, eh Eerikki?”
Eerikki was only momentarily startled. The veteran of many battles both with men and stranger things, steeled his will, and he drew his sword. “Men, we are betrayed! To battle!”
He only took one step forward before she opened her mouth, revealing row upon row of shark’s teeth, and uttered a wail of the same type as was from the sea, but a hundred times more powerful.
The men, Eerikki and the rest, were at first paralyzed and then enchanted. They once again saw Muirgen as the startlingly beautiful nude goddess, dressed only in treasure. The voices of a hundred sirens like her grew from the sea, speaking of love and eternal life, if only the men would join them in their world beneath the waves.
There was the first splash as Hagan, the steersman, jumped overboard. One by one, the other men joined him. Only Eerikki’s will was strong enough to resist.
The beautiful alien Princess embraced his still form, and she kissed him with a passion that would have filled a thousand nights with her hot lust. But he didn’t have a thousand nights left. He had not a single one.
“You have robbed, tortured, and murdered in these waters, and finally enough blood had been spilled that it reached us in our depths. That blood cried out for justice and vengeance, and we, the Sirens, have been dealing out such for as long as men have walked the Earth and sailed the seas.
It took her hours to devour his flesh on the deck of his own ship, and through eldritch magic, he did not die before he saw her take his still beating heart and rend it within her jaws.
Somewhere in the depths south of Fair Isle, Eerikki’s ship has decayed and finally dissolved beneath the sand over the past seventeen centuries. If you knew where to find it, how deep to dig, you would uncover Eerikki’s last plunder, one of unmeasurable wealth and beauty.
To this day, the residents of Fair Isle have not found the secret trove of Eerikki and his band. Perhaps it is part of the Princess Muirgen’s curse that it will never be discovered. Worse, perhaps anyone who does find that limitless wealth will meet with the same fate of the ancient Norse raider whose name is not even recorded in fable.
Fair Isle is a real place, located far north of Scotland on about the same latitude as Oslo, Norway. Today, it is inhabited by about sixty people and really has been peopled continuously since the Bronze age.
I learned of it when I read a story about how the people living there are advertising for a full-time nurse. They have no doctor. One visits every three months. Sounds like an interesting place.
I put a link above to its Wikipedia page so you can learn more.
I got the idea to write this after reading a short story called Sirens at the Fictionspawn Monsters blog.