Tahlmus felt himself slowly coming awake. Aches and pains in his body that he realized were always associated with the song of the Sirens. They may not have been mermaids anymore, but the magic they still had allowed them to still lure unsuspecting victims away if they so chose. “I wonder which one sang to me this time,” he wondered as he tried to move.
As some feeling came back to his extremities he realized he was lying on his back, and he felt at least three other bodies next to him, and felt a fourth curled up on top of him. Blinking his eyes into focus, he was able to see Coral on his right, Fleur was to his left, he sensed that Laguna was curled up with the dancing milk carton near his head, and it was Celestial who lay curled up on top of him. “Did I really sleep like this all night?” he whispered. “I don’t even remember falling asleep.”
“Yes,” he heard Coral say.
“We slept like this all night,” Fleur whispered.
“It was wonderful,” Coral stated sitting up to look at him.
“Very comfortable,” Celestial said maneuvering so her face was within inches of his.
“You were the life of the party,” Laguna stated in a sleepy voice.
Tahlmus closed his eyes. “I don’t remember…” The rest of his words were lost as Celestial placed her lips on his. All of his aches and pains went away. Memories of the previous night started to come back. They involved way too much butter beer on his part. He remembered he had started because Lamia had brought the drink to him, her very own recipe. Not wanting to disappoint her, he drank a glass. It left him feeling so good, he drank more to keep the feeling. It had made the hurt from learning of Winky being bonded to Dobey go away. He only felt pleasure. He remembered starting to dance, and then Coral, Fleur, Laguna, and Celestial all started to sing, enticing him over to them. That was the last he remembered.
He shook his head as the memories faded. In doing so he realized the women were now sitting around him, so he pushed himself to a sitting position. “Why did you all start singing to me?” he asked.
The ladies all looked at one another. “You were so sad again,” Fleur said.
“We didn’t want you to be sad,” Laguna stated.
“We know you loved Winky, but after becoming normal women, we’ve had more feelings…” Coral started as she placed a hand on his shoulder.
Tahlmus looked at each of their faces, there was something in them that Tahlmus knew he should recognize, but couldn’t place. “The others,” Celestial started taking her turn, “they want your attention, but…” she paused biting her lip. “Those of us here need more than you are currently giving.”
Tahlmus looked at them with a little confusion. Looking into their eyes, he now saw a desire and longing he’d never noticed before. “What more could I do?” he asked.
The four women looked at each other before nodding in a silent agreement. “We want to be more intimate with you,” Celestial said. Tahlmus opened his mouth to speak, but had nothing to really say. “We…” Celestial didn’t get to finish as there was a knock on the door.
“Please excuse the interruption,” Tempest said slowly opening the door, “but the new teacher is here.”
The ladies all got excited, and stood to leave. Tahlmus slowly followed. He didn’t remember them needing another teacher, but his thoughts were still foggy from the song. It usually took a little while before everything came back to him. As they walked, the girls asked Tahlmus to put them in fresh clothes, which he did; just in time for them to walk into the great hall. In the hall a single figure awaited them. She was wearing what Tahlmus thought was similar to priestess clothing, but darker. She still had the hood up, so he couldn’t see her face, but he could feel her energy right away. It wasn’t dark, but it wasn’t what normal mages gave off either.
“Lillianna,” Celestial said. “Thank you for coming on such short notice. This is…”
“Wait… Lillianna…” Tahlmus started. “The Lillianna?” he questioned.
“I see your elf friend recognizes me,” she said removing her hood. Blonde hair fell below her shoulders, her skin had a glow about it, but her eyes were dark, not black, but a very dark color Tahlmus didn’t recognize.
“Can I… Can I talk to you a minute?” he asked looking at Celestial and taking hold her hand. Celestial nodded and Tahlmus led her out of the room. “You do know who she is, right?” he asked in a whisper.
Celestial shrugged. “She applied for the teaching position we put out a month ago.”
Tahlmus ran a hand through his hair. The fog was still there, but Celestial’s words prompted the memory of their discussion of wanting a teacher that specialized in teaching about different magicks, that those with weak fade connections could be tempted to try to strengthen their powers, but find themselves on a dark path if not utilized correctly. “All I know is what is on her resume.” Celestial gave a wave of her hand, using the spell Tahlmus had taught her and made Lillianna’s resume appear. She handed it to Tahlmus, who studied it. The credentials were very appropriate for what they were looking for. Tahlmus shook his head.
“I wish you would have consulted me on this one,” he whispered.
“But you said…” Celestial started.
“I know, I know,” Tahlmus said softly as he sighed, “and you couldn’t have known. I’m the one who studied all those books.” Celestial looked at him confused. “Voodoo can be a gateway to some very dark magic, darker than that of the Dark Lord.” Celestial’s eyes went wide. “Lillianna doesn’t just practice voodoo, she’s what they call a priestess; one of the more powerful ones too.”
“What do we do?” Celestial asked. “I already hired her.”
Tahlmus shrugged. “It’s too late to put up the protective charms, usually warranted when beginners start learning voodoo. They can take weeks to set up properly. We will just have to keep an eye on the students I guess. She hasn’t dabbled in the dark magic yet… that much I can tell… but… we will keep a close eye on the students,” Tahlmus finished before leading Celestial back into the great hall.
“So do I get to stay?” Lillianna asked as they approached.
“Yes,” Tahlmus nodded. “Marina and Maya will show you to your room and give you a tour of the estate. Use today to settle in, then tomorrow, you, Celestial, Laguna and I can go over lesson ideas and plans for how we want this first year to go.”
“Thank you,” Lillianna said reaching out to shake hands with Tahlmus. He accepted the gesture. “I have a feeling you and I will become great friends,” she said seductively while looking him right in the eye. Tahlmus felt the magic she was trying to weave on him, and used his own to counteract it. She nodded and smiled at him before following Maya and Marina, who had appeared at the mention of their names, out of the great hall. Tahlmus watched her leave, a thin smile on his face.
Having only understood part of the interaction between Tahlmus and Lillianna Coral, Fleur, Celestial and Laguna became a little upset, and somewhat jealous.
“I don’t like her,” Coral said
“Me either,” Fleur agreed.
“Only we get to speak seductively to Tahlmus,” Laguna stomped her foot and her dancing milk carton appeared.
Laguna’s comment reminded Tahlmus of the unfinished conversation from earlier. He opened his mouth to ask about it, but Celestial handed him an envelope. On the envelope it read, ‘in case we can’t verbally express our feelings’. He opened his mouth again to ask what the message meant, but they were already gone. Sighing he went over to the wall and sat on the floor. He pulled out what he counted to be nine pieces of paper. Glancing really quickly through them he noticed that they had each written him a letter, looking to be two pages each. Taking a deep breath he started to read the first letter.
We have written these letters because we have a topic we want to discuss with you, but every time we think we can, we find that none of us can express it properly through verbal communication. This being the case, we have each written a letter to you expressing that which we cannot say. We also need to apologize. The invitation from Winky has been here for over a week. She had dropped it off personally, but none of us wanted to give it to you because we knew it would make you sad. All of us, know how much you loved Winky. It was very apparent in all you went through to free her from the Dark Lord. Also in how you pled to take her place so she could live a normal life. We didn’t understand it then, but now as normal humans, we do. We also know your depression keeps you from seeing how much we long for you to love us as you did her. Maybe these letters will help.
Celestial, Coral, Fleur & Laguna
A little stunned Tahlmus flipped the page. He wasn’t sure how he felt about what had been written so far. He was upset that they kept the invitation from him, but closing his eyes and letting the memories of the past year float through his mind, he realized they were right. Celestial, Coral, Fleur and Laguna had all been more friendly and flirtatious, asking for more intimate interactions with him. “Maybe it is time I allow myself to move on,” he thought, as he started reading the letters.
When he finished Coral’s letter, as he had saved hers for last, he found that he saw each of them in a different light. “Four wives though,” he thought. “Would I be able to even handle that?” he asked himself softly.
“Handle what?” Atargatis asked. Tahlmus looked up as she stood before him. He couldn’t get over how quickly the Sirens were still able to move.
“Handle the upcoming school year,” he said to her. “I assume lunch is ready,” he continued so she couldn’t ask any more questions. Atargatis nodded. Tahlmus stood and walked with her to the dining hall. The others including Lillianna were already there. He noticed that Lillianna had taken one of the seats next to him. Several of the Sirens did not look happy about it, but everyone was quiet. “Uncomfortably quiet,” he thought taking his seat. As he sat down, the food appeared and everyone started to eat. There was no chit-chatting going on, just continued silence.
After a few more minutes of silence, Tahlmus stood. “Someone want to explain what’s going on?” he asked. All the Sirens looked at each other, and then looked away. Tahlmus sighed about to speak again when Lillianna stood.
“I believe it is my presence that’s caused a problem,” she said. “Maybe my teaching here wasn’t a good idea.”
“No,” Tahlmus said, putting a hand on Lillianna’s shoulder so she sat back down. “Having you here will provide a new perspective to different magicks,” he said. “It will be good for the students.” He watched as several Sirens crossed their arms and sat back in their chairs, no doubt having heard that Lillianna had spoken seductively to him. “I understand the feelings you are having,” he said taking the letters out and setting them on the table. “Change isn’t easy, but things won’t change as much as you are currently thinking, I promise,” he finished making eye contact with each one of them before sitting back down.
“I don’t understand,” Lillianna whispered. “Did I do something wrong?”
Tahlmus shook his head as the hall started to resound with the sounds of conversations. “Though please don’t try to weave your magic on me,” he said softly to her. He then explained to her how he had come to be with the women known as Sirens. He found out that she knew the Sirens story well, which was why she had applied to teach at their new school. He discussed his reservations about her actual practice of voodoo, and the possible dangers it could pose to the students. Lillianna knew her practice was misunderstood and misused, but promised to keep a close eye on all of her students.
Satisfied with Lillianna’s answers and done with his food, Tahlmus rose from the table and left. Soon after he left, Celestial, Coral, Fleur and Laguna rose to follow. They went to his office, which was the only logical place that he could have gone at this point in the day.
He was sitting at his desk when they entered and he used his magic to close the door behind them. He set their letters on his desk. “I will try to be more,” he said, “to all of you. You were right; I was so wrapped up in my love for Winky I didn’t see what was right in front of me.” The women all smiled. “By the way,” he said with a wave of his hand. A cage appeared with the niflers. “When you all decide to play with these little guys, please remember to put them away,” he said looking directly at Fleur. “I don’t think we need them running off with everything in the estate.” Fleur blushed as she took the cage with the niflers from Tahlmus. “The one might still have stuff in the pouch; it still looks a little big.”
Fleur started giggling, she had originally thought she had found two males, but had found out the night before she had been wrong. “That’s Mrs. Fluffy Sniffles.”
“Sniffles…” Tahlmus started asking as the other niflers sneezed.
“Yes,” Fleur stated. “Coral named this one,” she pointed at the one who sneezed, “Sniffles because he kept sneezing on her.”
“Yeah, it was a little disgusting,” Coral stated as the niflers sneezed again. “Doesn’t help that he made me sneeze too.”
Tahlmus was ready to say something with the realization of the prefix that Fleur had used sunk in. “Wait,” he said, “did you say Mrs.?” Fleur nodded. “I thought you said…”
Fleur shrugged. “I was wrong,” she said, “and…”
“She’s going to have babies,” Laguna exclaimed finishing Fleur’s sentence. “Then we each get one.”
“And I’m going to teach Coral’s to carry around a box of Kleenex and hand her one every time she sneezes, since she seems to be allergic to them,” Fleur said.
Tahlmus started to feel faint so he sat down in the chair. “Just what we need,” he whispered, “more niflers.” He looked off to his left where he heard some familiar tapping. He saw two dancing milk cartons and one had lipstick on, and she didn’t look so small either. “I think I’m going to pass out now,” he said, before he closed his eyes and fell out of his chair.
Continue on… Part 3