Two days later, Davey showed back up. This time Tahlmus was allowed to be in on the conversation between Davey and Celestial. Davey confirmed there was a horcrux in the small Tevinter village. It was a sapphire that had been placed in a necklace that was for display only in the local shop. Celestial wanted Davey to get rid of the horcrux, which was why, Tahlmus realized, he was there. He shared his knowledge that he’d gained from Winky’s books about horcruxes. They were a way of allowing a magic user immortality, but to do it one had to split their soul. The easiest way to do that was through killing, though there were other more painful ways.
Tahlmus had also learned that a person could only split their soul six times; to do any more than that would cause the regeneration power of the horcrux to not work. So it was safe to assume there were only six horcruxes for them to find. The regeneration power, Tahlmus had found, was quite a different story. While the item preserved the soul, it did not preserve every detail about the person. So when used to regenerate, the body the mage ended up with, could be male or female without any regard to their previous gender.
“Those conversations make sense now,” Dave stated as Tahlmus finished his explanation. Celestial motioned for Davey to continue. “The Dark Lord no longer wishes to have Winky, but have Tahlmus instead. They were saying that a child with his genetics would guarantee the end of the Vampire Mermaids. Powerful magic, elven blood, it would be a deadly combination.”
“But that means,” Celestial started, but her voice drifted off.
“It means the Dark Lord has already regenerated, and is in female form this time,” Tahlmus said with a shrug. “But it could also mean they are just trying to watch me, so they can kidnap any child I might produce,” Tahlmus finished as he started to feel hollow. The group sat in silence for several minutes.
“So…” Davey the ghost pirate started. “What’s our next step?” The moose looked up and grunted as if in agreement.
“Get the horcrux,” Tahlmus said simply. “We have to get the horcrux and destroy it. I think I know how to do it, but I will need to go into town, have some stuff specially made to deal with them,” he finished looking at Celestial.
“Fine,” she replied, “But Davey goes with you. You get what you need then you come right back here.” Tahlmus nodded. “Then once Tahlmus is back here, you, Davey,” she continued pointing at the ghost pirate, “will go obtain the horcrux and bring it back here for Tahlmus to destroy.” This time Davey nodded. “Coral,” Celestial raised her voice. As always Coral seemed to materialize by Celestial’s side. “You may take Tahlmus. I have no further use of him this evening.”
Coral let out a small squeal of delight before grabbing his hand and pulling him on out of the kitchen area. Tahlmus could tell Coral was more excited than usual as she pulled him along at a pace quick enough that he almost face planted several times. Coral pulled him into a secret cove that he’d never noticed before. “What has you so excited?” he asked as she stopped and forced him to sit on a rock that looked like a stool.
“I get to spend time with you, silly,” she started smiling brushing her lips against his cheek. “Oh… and I found this,” she said pulling a crown out from behind her back and handing it to Tahlmus. As soon as he touched it, the crown started to vibrate. He dropped it. He could sense the dark magic on it. “Is everything ok?” Coral asked picking up the crown and holding it out to him, but Tahlmus backed away.
“I… I think you found a horcrux,” he replied still backing away. “Can’t you feel the dark magic?” he asked. Coral shook her head, it felt normal to her. “And it doesn’t vibrate in your hands?” he asked. Again Coral shook her head no. “No, no, no,” he whispered running his hand through his hair.
“Tahlmus what’s wrong?”
“Nothing sweetheart,” Tahlmus lied. “Just keep it safe until tomorrow night. I will be better equipped to take care of it then.”
Coral gladly put the crown aside, and wrapped her arms around Tahlmus’ neck. She convinced him to carry her to her favorite spot to lie in the sand. They laid there talking until it was Fleur’s turn. Fleur had several new creatures to show him, and told him all about the exotic pink dolphins she had found in a small alcove near the furthest west inlet of the Tevinter Imperium. Once Fleur was done, it was Laguna’s turn. She was unusually quiet and didn’t magic up her dancing milk carton. Tahlmus knew something was bothering her, but he didn’t want to pry. He just sat there with his arms around her as she had requested. When dawn came, she thanked him and went off to the waters.
Once Laguna was gone, he walked back to the kitchen area, where Davey was waiting. Together they transported to the edge of the village. Being a ghost Davey could make himself seen or not seen, so he made himself invisible as they walked into the village. Knowing Celestial would have ordered Coral to do some special magic to make sure he stayed on task; Tahlmus went straight to the craftsman’s shop.
The master craftsman was not busy that early in the morning, which allowed Tahlmus to go into his back room and speak with him privately. The master craftsman knew quite a bit about Tahlmus. The young elf had come to him years ago wanting to learn how to use weapons. The master craftsman had made him some daggers and taught him how to use them. He had also heard about what happened to him and Winky. So when Tahlmus described what he needed to be able to destroy the Dark Lord horcruxes, the master craftsman readily agreed. He had all the materials, so he set straight to work.
The process took some time, but Tahlmus sat waiting patiently. It was all he could do. While waiting, he asked Davey to go speak with Winky about some books form her library. He wasn’t sure what exactly they needed to look for, but he needed to find out more about dark magic and experimentation. Davey agreed to the task leaving Tahlmus alone with his thoughts.
A couple hours later, Davey was back with several books, and the master craftsman had finished the sword. Satisfied that he had what he needed, Tahlmus thanked the master craftsman and walked with Davey out of the village before transporting back to the Sirens’ abode. Davey left the books on the kitchen table before leaving. He needed some rest before going after the horcrux. He promised Tahlmus he’d be back in a couple days either with the horcrux, or with a plan for the Sirens to get it. Tahlmus expressed his thanks, and the two parted ways.
Now equipped with the sword, Tahlmus traced the tattoo on his forearm with his finger. A minute later it glowed for a few seconds before going back to normal. It was a signal Coral had worked out with him, in case for any reason, they needed to talk. He focused on her. She was sunning herself on her favorite rock near the beach where he’d first met them. Tahlmus transported to the rock. Coral smiled at him when he appeared. Fleur and Laguna had been floating around nearby, but came over to the rock when he appeared.
“Aww, did you miss us?” Fleur asked batting her eyelashes.
“I… I did,” Tahlmus replied, “but I also came for the item Coral showed me earlier.
“You mean this?” Coral asked as she pulled the crown out. The dark magic that Tahlmus had felt around it was stronger. It took everything he had not to back away from Coral and the crown. Fleur and Laguna were now perched on the rock near Coral, they wanted to see it, so they passed it around. As Laguna held it however, Tahlmus sensed the dark magic growing stronger. He didn’t understand the meaning behind it, but he knew he had to take it from her, which he did.
Focusing a little magic into the crown, he found the weakest point, before setting it on the rock so he could easily hit that point with the sword he unsheathed. “You might want to back up,” he cautioned. All three thought Tahlmus had maybe been reading a few too many books, but they did as he asked; removing themselves from the rock, swimming a few feet away.
Tahlmus brought the sword above his head, and brought it down on the crown. As the sword neared the crown, Tahlmus could feel the magic in it start to grow. The crown began to shake like it wanted to fight back. The sword hit the crown, breaking it and destroying the piece of the soul it held. The power that erupted from the blow came back at Tahlmus knocking him into the water unconscious. The sword was still in his hand.
His body floated for a few seconds, which was long enough for the girls to shake off the shock of what they’d seen. Coral and Fleur swam to save Tahlmus while Laguna went to view the pieces of the crown. The dark magic that had spoken to her was no longer there. Studying the pieces of the crown, while Fleur and Coral brought Tahlmus safely to the rock, she was able to confirm what she had believed to be true. The crown had belonged to her former husband. The one she had escaped once she had learned that he had given their child to the Dark Lord. It had been the child’s death that had created the horcrux, of that much she was certain.
“Everything alright?” Coral asked as she and Fleur took turns giving Tahlmus mouth to mouth. He had not been breathing when they got to him. Laguna shook her head.
“Is he…” she started to ask.
“Come on Tahlmus,” Fleur said as she tried to push on his chest. It seemed to work as Tahlmus started couching and sputtering water out of his mouth. All three Sirens let out a sigh of relief.
“Did… it… work?” Tahlmus asked in between coughs. Coral pointed at Laguna, who nodded, holding up the pieces of the crown. Tahlmus could no longer feel the dark magic. “Good,” he stated breathing heavily. “I think I’m going to take a nap,” he said rolling over and closing his eyes.
The Story continues… Tahlmus, Winky, And the Vampire Mermaids: The Sequel, Pt. 3
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