General Notes: Her full name is Annika Jackson, and she is African-American and Italian. Her father is Sal Bello, a casino owner from Las Vegas. Her mother is Gwen Jackson-Bello, a psychic and a fortune teller. She is a magika; her abilities are genuine. She tends to dwell in a world of her own.
Annika's grandmother, Tamarika Jackson, took Annika to raise when it was obvious that her talents far outstripped the both of them. Sal and Gwen are seperated, and Sal shows some interest in his daughter, but the whole magika thing is really beyond his comprehension.
Tamarika Jackson is the 5th magika of the current queen of atlantis' penta, and she refused to become queen.
My first trip to Atlantis
I was five years old and on a fishing boat in the Atlantic Ocean. I wasn't happy; fishing was boring to me and I was only there because Dad insisted on spending some time with me. Gran told him to watch me carefully and that I wasn't experienced on the sea. He told her that my magic would protect me. She told him that my magic would only protect me if I knew I needed to be protected; the magic doesn't work on it's own. I guess he didn't believe her. It didn't matter to him that Gran was a magika and that I was a magika and he wasn't. He was just a normal human being, and didn't really grasp magic all that well.
So there I was on a fishing boat with no life jacket and with nothing constructive to do.
We had been out for about three hours. The men were all busy with the nets and poles. I was on deck, looking out over the vast expanse of the ocean. Without warning we encountered a rather large wave and I was swept overboard. To this day, I do not know how long it was before I was missed.
I was a slight thing then, with no hint of body fat and no chance at any boyancy. I sank.
My magic did save me. I had the presence of mind to protect myself from the water so I could breathe. But I couldn't recover from sinking; I didn't know how. I just continued down into the water. Time and distance meant nothing. After a while it was so dark that up and down meant nothing as well. I was beginning to feel the pressure from the weight of the water. I was afraid that I would not be able to figure out how to protect myself from the pressure before I was crushed.
Then a miracle happened. I was engulfed by a bubble. It's thick walls shielded me from the ocean's pressure. I no longer felt as if I was being crushed. The bubble itself was opaque in places and translucent in others and seemed to glow. Through the translucent areas, I could see that I was approaching a wall that seemed to be made of the same material. When the outside of the bubble reached the wall, it became part of it for a moment, then pushed through. Once on the other side, I was descending through air instead of water.
I didn't know what was happening, but I felt that I was safe. The bubble deposited me on the surface that wasn't any different from many islands I had seen, lush with greenery, trees, grass and so forth. A young girl about my age welcomed me to Atlantis. She was accompanied by her mother and my Gran. Apparently when I invoked my magic I also called out to her.
We spent little time there. My Gran wasn't comfortable in Atlantis and it was clear to me that she felt we didn't belong there. She expressed her gratitude at my rescue, but asked to be returned to the surface.
We ascended out of Atlantis through a cave on an uncharted island in the West Indies. Gran used her magic to take us home
My first encounter with the Dolphin Council
A few months after my fall to Atlantis, Gran and I were staying with my mother in Malibu, California. Mom was a fortune teller on the beach, and enjoyed great fortune of her own in the California sun. She was happy to see us, though not maternal enough to feel remorseful about not raising me.
We rented a glass-bottomed boat to go out and see the ocean. Gran was a good sailor; Mom just sat in the back of the boat staring dreamy-eyed through the glass, as if it were a giant crystal ball. I was looking all around trying to see if we were going to see whales or dophins. I wasn't disappointed. Four dolphins played around our boat for hours, jumping in the air and seemingly happy with my squeals of delight. At about noon they approached the boat and called out in their language, which oddly enough, I understood.
"Come with us, Annika," they said in chorus, "our leader awaits you."
"Your leader?" I questioned, speaking to them in their tongue. I glanced at gran, who looked startled and frightened. Mom was oblivious.
"Yes, the Chief of the Dolphin council requests that we bring you to him," they replied, "if you are willing."
Of course, I was willing. I was five and being invited to meet one of the greatest beings in the sea.
"I am," I replied.
"Come," they said, and turned so I could reach out and grab a fin. I climbed out of the boat before Gran could stop me, and we left. One of the dolphins stayed behind, trying to reassure Gran that I would be fine.
We traveled away from the shore for quite a distance. I could no longer see land when we stopped. They indicated that we were going underwater, and I used my magic to allow me to breathe underwater. We approached a reef of coral which seemed to go down further than I could see. We did not go very far down, though, when we entered through a hole in the coral to the entrance to a domed city. This was one of the human-built cities of Pacifica. I was turned over to a pair of gill people who escorted me inside.
They took me to an elevator, which took us down to the ocean floor. There we exited into a cave which had an underground pool. I am still not sure how something like this exists so far under the ocean. The gill people said it was a bubble of air under the ocean, which was there long before humans built their own bubbles of air under the ocean (meaning the domed cities). Inside the pool lived the elder Dolphins of the Dolphin council. They were older than anyone could remember and larger than the dolphins that had escorted me to the entrance of the city. What kept them alive isolated under the depths of the ocean was a mystery, although most people concede that Dolphins have magic that no one else understands. They can communicate with the other Dolphins sonicly or telepathically. The other dolphins can be brought down here, but it takes either magic or mechanical means, and they are rarely called into the presence of the council.
The council members are attended to by gill people, who accept this as the most important responsibility they could possibly have. Many Merfolk and gill people regard these ancient dolphins as being gods.
At five years of age, I had no such opinion of them, other than knowing that they were the most important dolphins in the Pacific Ocean, and it was something out of the ordinary to be summoned by the Chief.
I stood at the side of the pool in excited anticipation. I had no idea what I had done to draw the attention of the Chief, not even my accidental trip to Atlantis.
"Please be calm," said one of the gill people, "the Chief might lose interest in you if you are too hyper."
"I'll try," I whispered.
We waited for only a few minutes before one of the aged dolphins broke the water's surface gracefully. He did not jump in the air; he just came up to the surface and moved gently over to where I stood.
"Annika", his voice was deep and rumbling.
"I am Annika," I said quietly.
"I am J'o'ricia the Chief Elder of the Dolphin council," he continued, "I am honored to be in your company."
Not sure what to make of such a glowing compliment I replied "It is I who am honored."
"At your age, it might be difficult to understand," he replied, "but you are destined to be greater than I am."
"You are right," I said quickly, "I don't understand. The gill people call you god."
"I am god to them, as I gave them a place on this planet when no one else would acknowledge their existence. I am god to the merfolk because I taught them to get along without war," his voice was gentle as he spoke, "I am your equal. When you fulfill your destiny, you will be greater than I."
"What is my destiny?" I asked quietly.
"You will know soon enough. I will not tell you now. I brought you here to give you a gift."
"You will know soon enough," I repeated, "is that like 'you will understand when you are older?"
J'o'ricia's laugh was musical, and very very deep. So deep it caused waves in the pool, "Children hear thing such as this all their lives, don't they? No matter. You are truly too young for me to tell you your destiny, and it is my perogative as an Elder to make you wait. No one should know too much about their destinies. Do you want to know what gift I have for you?"
I blushed slightly. He may have regarded me as his equal, but he did not regard me as being older than I was, "yes, sir."
"You have a great need in your life to travel all of the earth's waterways. This will allow you to," he said, "you can, as a magicka, create a spell to breathe underwater, but that is not always practical."
"I cannot go very deep," I pointed out.
"Yes, that is why you must accept my gift." he replied. The two gill people stepped forward, and removed something from J'o'ricia's fin. He continued, "this has been fashioned as a medallion on a chain for you to wear. It is no mere medallion, it is a talisman, created by the Council of Elders from magic that is older than we are."
The gill people handed it to me. It was surprisingly light, as it seemed to have a heavy chain. The talisman was about 4 inches in diameter, so it was fairly large.
"Thank-you," I said.
"You must wear this always. It will not tarnish, nor cause you any discomfort. It's magic will allow you to swim to great depths without needing to cast a breathing spell, nor being crushed by the weight of the water. It has other properties as well, which you will learn as you need them."