Tahlmus woke to a grunting noise. Looking up he saw Davey the ghost pirate and his moose. He sat up in bed trying to rub the sleep from his eyes. “I’m sorry to wake you, but I have an update,” Davey said. Tahlmus motioned for him to continue. “The Dark Lord returned today. When he visited Winky, after she had finished organizing his room, he invited her to supper. He is having her wear the dress she made to wear the day you two were to be bonded.”
Tahlmus’ eyes went dark as he remembered the dress Winky had worn, and what is was meant for. He closed his eyes, focusing on Winky. She was in a bedroom by herself, admiring her dress. From the look on her face it was as if she was seeing the dress for the first time. Tahlmus broke off his concentration shaking his head. “Why…?” He whispered.
“There is something else I found out, a few weeks ago. I just wasn’t sure what… or when to tell you.” Seeing the confusion on the young elf’s face Davey continued. “The one day, I overheard this elf named Dobey speaking to the Dark Lord. He said that the magic in the food they’d been giving Winky worked. She had no memories of her past life.”
Tahlmus felt all the air leave his lungs. “She won’t remember me,” he whispered. Davey just looked at him sadly. After a few minutes of silence, Tahlmus started discussing the plans; he and the Sirens had made for the evening. The best time to strike would be after Winky and the Dark Lord were asleep. They would need Davey’s help knowing when that was. Davey willingly agreed before leaving to go back on watch.
Once Davey was gone, Tahlmus started to rack his brain. He knew a lot of different magic; even magic that the Hahren had refused to teach him, as he had started reading through every book on magic he had been able to get his hands on after he and Winky had started their shop. After a couple of hours of racking his brain, he remembered a spell that could be used over time to erase memories. If not done correctly, or if done to another mage for a short period of time, the memories would disappear, but just hidden away, not really lost. “There might be a chance,” he thought. “I might be able to make her remember.”
A couple hours after that the sun set and Celestial and the other Sirens were back. As they finished finalizing their plans, Davey the ghost pirate showed up with his moose, informing them that the Dark Lord was asleep, as was Winky. Heavy guard was posted around the estate, but there were not any guards inside the estate. From what Davey could detect there wasn’t any magic guarding the estate either. If Tahlmus was transporting them in, they would have the element of surprise.
Knowing now that it was safe to transport in, Tahlmus took a minute to close his eyes and refocus. As he did, Coral, Fleur, and Laguna came up, forming a circle around him. They were going to conduct the first phase of the plan. “Ready?” He asked once he opened his eyes and saw they were in place. They all nodded, smiling. Tahlmus closed his eyes again focusing on Winky’s room. He muttered a few words and the small group found themselves in Winky’s room. She was still fast asleep.
Motioning for the three women to give him a minute, Tahlmus walked up to Winky’s bedside, muttering a spell as he took her hand in his. He finished the words to the spell, then leaned in and kissed her. Winky woke with a start. Fear in her eyes as she noticed a strange man by her bedside. She wanted to scream, but nothing came out. There was magic being used on her. “You don’t remember me do you?” Tahlmus asked in a whisper. Winky shook her head no. “maybe the spell needs more time,” he thought. “I’m the reason you are in this situation, he said to Winky, “and now I’m here to save you.”
Winky’s eyes grew large as she started having flashes of a past she had but forgotten. The Crouch’s sending her out, Tahlmus shirtless in the Hahren’s kitchen, starting a clothing store, the beautiful white dress, she had been wearing the day they were to be bonded, but she had ended up in the Dark Lord’s dungeon. “You,” she said angrily, “You’re the reason I’m here. This is your fault. You tricked me into loving you, so you could betray me,” Winky stated.
“I didn’t want to betray you Winky. I wanted to run away with you. I wish I had time to explain, but we need to go.”
“How can I even trust you? How do I know you’re not just going to do something worse?”
“You can trust us,” Laguna said stepping towards Winky.
“Right,” Fleur said. “We are here to take you away from the Dark Lord,” she finished also stepping forward.
Winky studied the women. “Alright, I will go with you. Just keep me away from him,” she finished by pointing her finger at Tahlmus.
“Don’t worry love,” Coral said coming forward and taking Winky’s hand. She pulled Winky out of bed and passed her over to Fleur and Laguna. “He’s not done with his task yet,” she continued moving towards Tahlmus. “Send them back now, Tahl,” she said brushing his cheek with her hand. “It’s time for phase two.”
Without another word Tahlmus followed Coral’s instructions. Fleur, Laguna, and Winky disappeared from sight. Another wave of his hand and Celestial, Atargatis, Tempest, and Lamia appeared in the room. “Where are we at?” Celestial questioned.
Tahlmus closed his eyes focusing on the castle layout. Everyone inside the castle was asleep. Everyone that was, except the Dark Lord. “What is it?” Celestial asked in a whisper as she noticed Tahlmus’ face change to one of unease.
“The Dark Lord, he’s… he’s…” Tahlmus started as he opened his eyes.
“I’m right here,” the Dark Lord said with a laugh that sent chills down Tahlmus’ spine. He saw the net before the rest did. Since Coral had been standing by herself off to Tahlmus’ left, the Dark Lord had decided to start with getting rid of her first.
The other four Sirens all cried Coral’s name, but Tahlmus had already pushed her out of the way, the net landing on him. He’d had no idea why the nets were so bad until then. Not only did it start to burn his skin, but it started to wrap itself around him cutting off blood flow, and if it continued, eventually suffocating him.
“Tahlmus,” they all cried at once. Before they could move to his aid, he put up an invisible wall between them and himself. It also kept the Dark Lord from being able to reach them. “Come on Tahlmus, focus,” he whispered to himself. He had remembered reading about this type of spell. The Dark Lord was laughing as Tahlmus closed his eyes trying to picture the words on the page describing the spell and counter spell.
“You will never escape,” the Dark Lord laughed as he watched the cords continue to wind their way up the male elf’s torso. “Then once you are gone I will deal with your lady friends,” he paused looking over at the Sirens. “I will save you for last Celestial,” he continued. “Always upset me that you managed to get away. You were such a good test subject.”
Celestial bared her fangs, a low growl coming from her throat. “Got it,” Tahlmus said in an exhaled breath as the net and hordes that were wrapping around him disintegrated. “I won’t let you hurt them,” Tahlmus stated moving forward towards the Dark Lord.
The Dark Lord smiled. “You really think, as a young elf that you can defeat me?” He asked as he gave a wave of his hand. Metal bracelets appeared on Tahlmus’ wrists.
These felt different than the cuffs from the red room. They felt weaker. “Or maybe I’m just stronger,” he thought. Focusing on the energy that had caused the cuffs to break the night before, Tahlmus channeled all of his emotions and magic into that energy. As he did there was a cooling sensation around his wrists as the bracelets broke. His body then started radiating the electricity as it had before, but this time he could control it. The Dark Lord was stunned. He tried putting more metal bracelets on the young elf but none took. They broke before they finished forming.
Seeing panic that had entered the Dark Lord’s eyes, Tahlmus removed the barrier, motioning for the Sirens to join him. They did so gladly. The Dark Lord turned to run; to get some help, but Tahlmus turned some of the electricity into a rope and lassoed the Dark Lord, pulling him back towards the Sirens.
“How?” The Dark Lord kept asking. “How can this be happening. The psychic… the prophecy she gave me… Only one with Draconic magic could defeat me.. and that… that hasn’t…”
“Guess she was wrong,” Tahlmus interrupted, as he finished pulling the Dark Lord in front of him. He pulled a dagger out of his robes and held it for almost a full minute before handing it to Celestial. “Would you like to do the honors?” He asked.
“I would love to,” Celestial replied accepting the dagger. As she approached the Dark Lord, Tahlmus cast several spells to make sure the Dark Lord could not move or use his magic to escape. He only ceased casting spells after the howl of the Dark Lord from having been pierced with the dagger, stopped, and he slumped to the floor. Not wanting to take any chances, Tahlmus cast a spell to reassemble the net that had been lying in ashes on the floor, and put it over the Dark Lord, before releasing the electric lasso.
As he watched the cords do their thing, the electricity radiating off of him started to fade. “You did it,” Coral said excitedly, wrapping Tahlmus in a hug and planting a kiss on him.
“Yes, yes, he did it,” Celestial said in a harsh yet slightly frantic tone. “Now let’s get out of here before anyone finds us.” Atargatis, Lamia, and Tempest nodded in agreement as they moved closer to Tahlmus, forming a circle around him. Closing his eyes, he muttered the spell to transport back to the Siren’s abode.
Upon arrival, the other women rushed over ready to celebrate. Celestial however walked off with storm clouds in her eyes, while Atargatis, Tempest, and Lamia regaled the other others with the events of the evening. Tahlmus managed to maneuver through the crowd of women, and took off after Celestial. He sensed that Coral had broken away from the group and was following him. He didn’t look back or slow down. It didn’t bother him that Coral was following him. He’d actually gotten used to her presence.
As he approached the kitchen area, where Celestial had gone, he noticed Laguna, Fleur and Winky. He stopped for a second blinking a couple times. He wasn’t sure if what he was seeing was real. “Is that… milk carton… dancing?” he asked.
He didn’t see it, but Coral had rolled her eyes as she placed a hand on his shoulder. “Yes,” she said. “It’s Laguna’s favorite trick to do with her magic.” Tahlmus just nodded, then went into the kitchen area. Coral stayed behind to help with Winky.
Tahlmus stood by the table where Celestial sat, waiting for her to recognize his presence. “The Dark Lord is gone, but you do not seem happy about it,” he finally said after several long minutes of silence.
“This… this curse… this magic. It should have been lifted when the Dark Lord died. We should all be normal humans again.” Tahlmus stood there unsure of what to say. He knew nothing of the magic used to have caused Celestial to be a mermaid by day and a vampire by night. He also did not want to speculate on whether or not the Dark Lord was actually dead. He had watched the man die with his own two eyes. “Laguna. Fleur. Coral. Bring in Winky,” Celestial yelled out. The three women appeared as if by thin air with Winky at their side, followed by a dancing milk carton. “Laguna, we don’t need the dancing milk carton anymore.” Laguna just nodded and the milk carton disappeared.
Winky glared at Tahlmus. “I thought you said I wouldn’t have to deal with this… this…” she started to growl as she pointed at Tahlmus.
“Winky I…” Tahlmus started.
“Just take me back to my shop,” she interrupted, “so I can work at forgetting you.” Tears stung Tahlmus’ eyes as he looked at Winky; longing to hug her.
“I’m afraid you aren’t going anywhere, Winky,” Celestial stated. “You will become one of us.”
Winky’s eyes opened wide in fear, as Celestial approached her. She tried back up, but the other three Sirens formed a wall. Two of them took hold of her arms. Tahlmus rushed over in between Winky and Celestial. “No, you can’t…” he started
“Do you remember our terms? What we got in return for helping you learn how to get past that special metal?”
Tahlmus nodded. “I was to follow order, not question you…” his voice trailed off.
“And…” Celestial said motioning for him to continue.
Tahlmus swallowed hard. “And something not yet in my possession, but held very dear,” he finished as he realized Celestial had said that to mean Winky. Celestial started walking again. “Wait, no… take me instead.”
“We can’t turn you silly,” Coral stated from behind him. “You’re a man. Only women can be Sirens.”
“Yes I know, but… you don’t think he’s dead. I can help you. I know enough protective spells that I can keep him and his people from finding Winky, or even suspecting that she is still alive. She can go back and safely run her shop. And if the Dark Lord does still exist I can help you find him, and defeat him. You can use me however you want in the meantime. I will be your slave,” Tahlmus finished.
He heard a squeal from behind him, and felt Coral wrapping her arms around his. “Please can we keep him? I’ll even take care of him, and make sure he can never leave us.”
Celestial studied Tahlmus. She had no doubt he could do as he said he could, but what was going to stop him from leaving to go stay with Winky.
“It would be nice to have a male around,” Laguna said, “even if we can’t snack on him.” Tahlmus felt the color start to drain from his face as Laguna spoke.
“At least he’s pretty to look at,” Fleur said, “and Coral is very good at making sure the ones we want can’t get too far away.”
Celestial sighed. “Fine, he will stay, but I get him first. When I’ve finished with him, you can do as you wish with him.” The girls all giggled in approval. “Coral do your magic. Then let him take Winky to her shop. Make sure he performs the necessary protective spells, then get him back here.”
Tahlmus swallowed the growing lump of panic he had in his throat as he turned to look at Winky. She was just gaping at him; disbelief in her eyes. He wanted to say something, but gasped as he felt a burning sensation on his forearm, just below the inside of his wrist. Looking, he saw what appeared to be a tattoo of a mermaid with fangs. He then looked up at Coral who was smiling. “Time to take Winky back,” she said reaching out and taking Winky’s hand from Fleur. Tahlmus managed to swallow the lump in his throat and nod, before doing as he was told.
Winky shivered as they appeared in front of the clothing shop she and Tahlmus had started. Memories of all they had done started to flood back, making her anger rise. She turned to speak to him, but noticed he was casting spells, both around her and the shop. She waited until he was done to speak to him. “Why?” she asked. “After betraying me, and handing me over to the Dark Lord, why are you saving me from the fate of becoming a cursed Siren?”
Tahlmus took Winky’s hands in his, ignoring the tingling pain that came from the tattoo. “Do you remember at the Hahren’s house when we figured out what my dreams really were? And do you remember making me promise that no matter what they showed, I had to go with what gave the best outcome for the majority of people involved, and not just what benefitted me?” Winky closed her eyes for a few seconds before nodding her head. She could very clearly remember having that conversation with Tahlmus.
“The night before we were to be bonded, I had a vision about what would happen in the Hahren’s garden. If we had run away, every village we ran to would have been destroyed by those looking for you, but if I allowed them to take you, the lives of all the elves would be spared and the Dark Lord defeated,” Tahlmus paused. Winky had tears running down her cheeks, and tears were stinging his eyes. “I’m… I’m sorry it took so long to save you,” he whispered leaning in wishing to kiss Winky.
As he did the tingling became a burning sensation. He ignored it putting his lips on Winky’s. He kept his lips on hers until he couldn’t handle the pain from the tattoo any longer. Parting their lips Tahlmus grabbed his forearm, letting out a quiet grunt of pain. It was then, that Coral came up looping her arm in his. “Come along Tahl, we have to go. Celestial doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
Winky still looked confused as Coral started pulling Tahlmus away from her. “I’m… I’m sorry,” he said. “Everything I did… I did because I loved you and because I wanted to be the good person you always thought I was.” Tahlmus and Coral then vanished from sight before Winky could say anything. Everything came back then. The love and excitement they’d shared together. The words Tahlmus had whispered before the humans showed up, the pain in his face, and the tightness of his embrace. She finally went inside the shop and up into her room. Lying in bed, she cried herself to sleep. Nothing was going to be the same without Tahlmus.
Back under the waters, in the Siren’s abode, Tahlmus tried to keep himself together. Celestial did not wish to be disturbed in the last few hours before dawn, so Coral took Tahlmus off to a secluded place. She made him sit on a rock, before she sat in his lap with her arms around his neck. She regaled him with her story of becoming a Siren, ending it with a kiss on his cheek. She then called Fleur, who appeared and took Coral’s spot. Fleur shared her story and also shared with him some of her magic, which involved helping little sea creatures who were in trouble. She was also able to speak to these creatures. Once Fleur was done, it was Laguna’s turn. She shared her story, before entertaining him with the dancing milk carton until it was time to return to the water.
Tahlmus curled up in the sand and slept through the morning. In the afternoon he made his way to the kitchen and started looking through the books that had, no doubt, been left there by Celestial. That night when Celestial returned, she laid down the rules for Tahlmus. Since he was there, he was hers. She was claiming him as her husband, so to speak, so the things he did with her were not allowed with anyone else.
After spending a couple hours with Celestial each night, she would then hand him off to another Siren, most of the time it was Coral, who used Tahlmus to fulfill her need of being cared for in a way that the other Sirens could not. After Coral, the rest of the Sirens seemed to be on a rotation of who got to spend time with him. During the day he would get some sleep and research all he could on the magic the Dark Lord could have used on Celestial. He also research ways magic users could try to make themselves immortal.
Once a week, Celestial would allow him to go visit Winky for a couple of hours. He was unable to touch her, and if he tried to stay even a few seconds past his two allotted hours, the tattoo would start to tingle and burn. That time did allow him to help Winky make any repairs to the shop and catch up on orders. Sometimes Winky would have books or research notes for Tahlmus to study, to aid in his attempt to help Celestial. Winky may have been hidden from the Dark Lord, but she found she was still able to get her hands on documents and journals from the Dark Lord’s estate.
Now it’d be nice to think that in one of these journals Tahlmus figured out how to reverse what happened to Celestial and all the other Sirens. It would also be nice to think that once she was free of the curse, Celestial freed Tahlmus of his obligation to her, and that he was able to go back to Winky, be bonded, and that together they destroyed all the Dark Lord’s horcruxes. It’d be nice to think that they then were able to live happily, running their clothing store, but this story ended when Tahlmus agreed to Celestial’s terms, trading himself for Winky’s freedom, and leaving her alone in front of the shop they had built together.
Due to the demand from my friends who inspired this story, for a sequel, you can see what really did happen next, in Tahlmus, Winky, and the Vampire Mermaids: The Sequel Pt. 1.