Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This world is brought to you by Dark Water . . .

Growing up, was there one fantastical, fictional world that spilled over into your own?

For me, that world was the alien planet of Mer! When my sisters and I were little, we were enthralled by "The Pirates of Dark Water." This animated series by Hanna-Barbera followed the adventures of Prince Ren and his crew of marvelous misfits to save his home world from Dark Water (malevolent tar-like goop with a penchant for eating, well, everything!). It only lasted for two seasons, but the adventures of the main characters stayed with me all through my childhood: the stalwart lighthouse keeper Ren, who had only his father's broken sword to remind him of his royal heritage; Tula, the feisty barmaid turned stowaway turned ecomancer (earth magician) voiced by Ariel (aka Jodi Benson); Ioz, an avaricious mercenary pirate who oh so reluctantly learns the worth of friendship; and Niddler, a ravenous monkey bird who learns to balance his cowardice with courage in between scarfing down minga melons. A magic compass throws them all together on a quest to find the lost Thirteen Treasures of Rule, because only by uniting the pieces can they save Mer from the Dark Water. But they are constantly on the run from the monstrous humanoid Bloth, a heinous pirate that makes Captain Barbosa look like a tame wee thing. For Bloth doesn't want to banish the Dark Water, but use the Thirteen Treasures of Rule to master it and control the world. It also doesn't help that Bloth kind of has a fanatical desire to wipe out the last descendant of King Primus of the ruined kingdom Octopon: Ren.

Long after the series had ended, my sisters and I would pretend that roads were actually rivers of Dark Water, and that cracks in the sidewalk were traps that would suck us into the Dark Water if we accidentally stepped on them. Sometimes I would pretend to be Tula, fearless and powerful. Sometimes I still call myself a Jitatin fool! I am grateful my imagination grew up somewhere between Earth and Mer . . . where did yours grow up?

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