Whales often nursed merfolk young alongside their own children. The mer mothers would give birth, and no sooner had the midwife placed the child in her arms than the whales would come, their haunting song caught on the currents that flowed through the sea caves and catacombs the merfolk called home. The babes would wriggle free of their mothers’ arms and join the orca or dolphin or sperm whales that had come to claim them.

Mothers would watch, silent, agonized screams bubbling out of their mouths, only held back by the steel arms of their consorts as they watched child latch to whale mother’s teat and begin to suckle. The whales would close ranks around mother and surrogate child, lazily drifting up and away into the murky blackness of the deep.

They will not see such children again for many years.

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