Celestial had been in the cave watching Winky study. The female elf had avoided most of her questions, saying she was running short on time and had a lot to read. So Celestial sat there, watching Winky turn page after page, worrying about Tahlmus and the others. A couple hours had gone by when she heard it; Fleur and Laguna calling out to her. Their voices didn’t sound right though. They sounded forced, unnatural, and she wondered why Coral’s voice wasn’t among them. None of that mattered though, she had to go.
“Wait,” Winky said. “Don’t leave quite yet,” she stated as Celestial stood and started walking to the cave entrance. Turning to look at Winky she saw that the female elf was quickly running her finger across the page, her eyes moving rapidly.
“I have to answer the call,” was all Celestial said.
“I know,” Winky said, “and I’m coming with you. I have information that Tahlmus is going to need,” Winky finished as she closed the book and stood.
“But…” Celestial wasn’t sure what to say.
“Don’t worry the bad guys won’t see me. Tahlmus’ magic makes me basically invisible to them.”
Celestial said nothing as she followed Winky to the shoreline. The female elf seemed sure that it was a trap. The more Celestial thought about it, the more it made sense. What she couldn’t figure out is why Tahlmus had not just defeated the Dark Lord. He had already done it once before. He had also destroyed four of the horcruxes, and the Dark Lord had used one to regenerate into Abi, so as far as she knew the Dark Lord could only regenerate one more time. One more defeat.
“Are you sure about coming along?” Celestial asked Winky once they reached the shoreline. Winky just nodded. “Take my hand then.” Winky did as she was told, and took hold of Celestial’s hand as they started walking out into the water. Next thing Winky knew they were on the shoreline in Tevinter.
As Winky had thought, it had been a trap. The henchmen put cuffs on Celestial, and led her, Laguna and Fleur back to the Dark Lord’s estate. Also as Winky believed, the henchmen never even noticed her, so she was able to follow them into the estate.
Abi started laughing as the henchmen came back with Celestial in tow. Fleur and Laguna were taken over by Coral, while Celestial was led over to stand between Abi and Tahlmus. Tahlmus hung his head when he saw Celestial. Abi took it as a sign of defeat, but it was really the only way he could hide the tears that tried to creep down his face. He didn’t love Celestial as he did Winky, but he cared for her. He did not want any harm to fall upon her, and now he had to kill her. He hadn’t wanted it to come to that.
Once Abi stopped laughing, she addressed Celestial. “You were my greatest failure and achievement,” she said. “You have destroyed my ships and tried to thwart my plans at every turn, but no more. Tonight Celestial, you will meet your maker, and the one to send you there will be none other than the one you’ve come to love.” At those words Celestial looked over at Tahlmus, sadness, anger, betrayal, and grief all flashing through her eyes.
“I’m… I’m sorry,” he whispered. “There’s nothing I can do,” he finished lifting his head to look at Celestial. When he looked up, he saw Winky standing in the background. Thanks to his magic, no one else had even noticed her presence. “Winky what are you doing here?” he asked through thought.
“Saving you and the Sirens,” she said in her head. “If you use the sword that the master craftsman made you and pierce Celestial’s heart, you will destroy her as a horcrux, but she, herself will still live.”
Tahlmus tried not to let his expression change at all. The news Winky had given him made him feel a bit better. “Do it,” Abi said holding Tahlmus’ sword out to him. “Kill Celestial and rid me of the Sirens. Do this and I will keep you as my slave; the others shall not be harmed.” Tahlmus swallowed the lump of panic that had developed in his throat. He could only trust that Winky’s words had been true. He accepted the sword with a shaking hand. He could see Coral, Fleur, and Laguna in the background shedding silent tears. Finally he focused on Celestial. There were tears in her eyes, but she would not let them fall.
“How can you do this?” Celestial asked. “After all we’ve done for you… How can you turn on us? Turn on me? I thought you were different, but in reality you are like all other men, just giving yourself to the most beautiful woman who can promise you a good time. I should have kept your precious Winky and killed you.”
Tahlmus flinched at Celestial’s words. His hands continued to shake, but he held the sword steady as he approached her. Through thought he gave instructions to Winky. He needed her to use her magic to get the journal that was in the inside breast pocket of Abi’s clothes.
“Celestial,” he started as he saw Winky start moving. “There is something I haven’t told you. A suspicion I’ve had since the day Coral brought me the crown.” Celestial growled at him. “That crown should have petrified her when she touched it, just as it did Davey, but it didn’t. It didn’t because the magic you gain when you become a Siren is dark magic. Dark magic that was given to you through experimentation. Dark magic that unbeknownst to the Dark Lord made you a seventh horcrux.” He watched Celestial’s eyes go wide with fear. “I tried to find a way to break the spell in hopes that you would no longer be a vessel for the Dark Lord’s soul, but I hadn’t found it yet. So when I had a chance this evening to kill her, I didn’t because I knew the remanents would find you. The horcrux in you would regenerate her, more powerful than before, and you would be a slave because the body would not survive without you.” He was near Celestial now, the sword tip touching her chest. “I’m sorry,” he said before he plunged the sword through her heart.
Tahlmus heard Celestial scream, and saw Abi grab her chest, no doubt feeling the last bit of her soul destroyed. There was nothing to save her from death this time, except the journal. As she clutched her chest, she couldn’t feel the journal. “No,” she whispered in panic. “Where is it?” Tahlmus removed the sword, watching Celestial’s body slump to the ground. The body was unconscious but he could sense that she still had a pulse. Coral, Fleur and Laguna were screaming, they couldn’t believe what they were watching. Winky was then by his side with the journal. “Here,” she said, “destroy it.”
“Gladly,” he said taking the journal from her. He let it fall to the ground and in one swift movement sliced through it with the sword. As he did Abi’s body started to turn to dust. Little by little she disappeared. The henchmen afraid of what might happen to them, ran away as fast as they could. The spell that held Davey and the Sirens captive was released. Davey’s moose also appeared by his side. Elated to have his moose back, Davey climbed on its back, nodded his thanks to Tahlmus, and then the two disappeared. Tahlmus hadn’t seen the nod, his eyes had been on Celestial. If what Winky said held true, then Celestial would be coming around. He had barely noticed that Coral, Fleur, and Laguna were making their way towards him baring their teeth at him. They had not yet noticed that they no longer had fangs.
Before reaching him, Tahlmus moved to Celestial’s side. She had started groaning softly. “Celestial, it’s ok,” he whispered. “I’m here and the Dark Lord can never harm you again.” Celestial looked up into his eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck quietly shedding tears into his shoulder. Having seen this, Coral, Fleur, and Laguna were soon huddled around the two in a group hug.
“I’m sorry I doubted you,” Celestial finally whispered in his ear. Tahlmus just responded by tightening his embrace. Winky had also joined in the group. She was about to ask what would happen next when Dobey came in.
“Winky,” he squeaked, running up to her in his own awkward way. After Winky had disappeared, Dobey had realized just how much he had actually loved her. She had never made him feel different despite his deformities.
“Dobey, I…” Winky started as Dobey wrapped her in a hug.
“The Dark One is gone,” he said. “I felt the spirit leave. I am free now. Free to do as I wish and Winky… I wish to be with you.”
Winky stared at Dobey with an open mouth. She had no idea what to say. She couldn’t remember ever feeling that way about Dobey. “I don’t remember much about my time with the Dark Lord,” she thought. She had done her best to suppress all the memories from that unpleasant time. Having watched the interaction, Tahlmus felt a part of his heart break. He still loved and longed to be with Winky, but he could tell she felt something for Dobey too, and those feelings were stronger than her feelings for him.
“Dobey, I… I still love Tahlmus,” she started.
“It’s ok Winky,” Tahlmus spoke softly. “Go be with Dobey.”
“But,” Winky started.
“Follow your feelings Winky. You deserve to be happy, and right now I cannot provide that for you,” he replied. A small part of him became hollow as he told the lie. He had already noticed that the tattoo had disappeared. The curse was broken. Winky wrapped her arms around him in a hug. “Besides,” he whispered as he embraced her as if he would float away if he let go, “if it doesn’t work out, I’ll still be here.” Winky smiled at him as the embrace ended, and she went back over to Dobey. They conversed a little bit, before walking out, hand in hand.
“You lied,” Coral stated as he felt four different hands on his shoulders. Tahlmus just nodded. “Why?”
Tahlmus shrugged. “Whether she understood them or not, her feelings were stronger for him,” he said. “And curse or no curse, I still belong to the Sirens. That was the arrangement. I became your slave, in exchange for Winky’s freedom.”
“Wait,” Celestial said. “Did you say no curse?” Tahlmus nodded showing her his forearm where the tattoo had been. It was now clean skin. “So…” Celestial started as she carefully felt her teeth. There weren’t any fangs. “No more turning from mermaid to vampire?” she asked.
“No more turning into anything,” Tahlmus replied with a gentle smile. “You are all normal human women,” he said, “though you all still have some magic.”
The women were all real excited for a few moments, then Fleur frowned. “If we are no longer mermaids, where will we go?” she asked.
“I doubt the Dark Lord will be using his estate,” Tahlmus said nonchalantly. “You all would be able to stay here and help others,” he finished.
“What about you?” Coral asked.
“I’ll still be here,” he replied. “I still belong to the Sirens.”
Celestial made Tahlmus turn so she could look him directly in the eyes. “You know since you broke the curse, I would have let you do what you wanted… including leaving us to go be with Winky.”
Tahlmus nodded. “I know,” he sighed, “and I would have, had Dobey not come in. I think Winky would have relearned to love me the way she had before I gave her to the Dark Lord, but…,” his voice faltered slightly, “She may not have realized it, but her feelings were stronger for Dobey than for me. I’m not going to force her to love me, and I won’t force you to keep me. If you relieve me of my responsibility to you, I will take my leave.”
Celestial opened her mouth to speak, but at that moment the rest of the Sirens came walking into the room. They had shown up at the estate when the curse had been broken. “Celestial. Coral. Fleur. Laguna,” they all cried in unison. “You’re alright,” they said as they rushed to the others. They crowded around all speaking at once, pushing Tahlmus out of the way. He looked at the group with a sad smile, before slowly turning to walk away.
As he started walking, he felt something take his hand. Looking down he saw a dancing milk carton, holding his hand, gently pulling him back towards the group of Sirens. Laguna, Coral, and Fleur all stood apart from the group smiling and motioning for him to come back. So, he let the dancing milk carton lead him back to them. Celestial appeared by his side, looping her arm in his.
“We all agree,” she started, “that you’re staying with us. We still want your time and attention,” she said. “So I am not relieving you of your obligation to us.”
Tahlmus let a small smile play across his face. “As you wish,” he replied with a bow of his head. They all squealed with delight and started leading him around the estate. There were a lot of changes they wanted made and his magic was going to make them so much easier. So Tahlmus stayed with them, using his magic to help make changes to the estate, and giving them the attention they requested.
The adventures continue…. Tahlmus and the Sirens: The Next Adventure, Pt. 1