wandering_cirrus t1_j997gdy wrote

Had it been two months already? She hoped that Serel and Gertie and everyone else were doing well, that they had enough sense to keep their heads down and their non-human bits hidden deep until those battle-crazy fools had left, making sure that her “evil siren influence” had been fully purged from the populace before they left.

She did understand it, though. If she really were a proper siren, and really had enchanted the people of the territory, these two months were necessary. Otherwise, someone still under her influence might do something silly, like try to free her. It was already considered mercy that they let something they saw as so dangerous live.

A commotion came from below. Odd. It wasn’t time yet for the silent jailor to deliver the daily meal that couldn’t really be called a “meal.”

“EH?” she thought she heard Serel’s voice shriek. “You mean you bloody sods put her in here?” How odd. She must be hallucinating. Elenor settled further from the broken roof, from the patch of grey, cloudy sky she could see out the hole. Maybe it wouldn’t be the starvation or the exposure that would kill her first. Maybe it would be the loneliness.

The commotion drew closer, seemed to stop outside her door. Something jingled, rattled.

The door to her tower cell flew open.

“Eh?” It was Serel. Really, truly Serel.

“My lady!” she cried. She rushed in, worried, a little haggard, hands reaching out to check every inch of Elenor for injuries. “Are you all right?”

“As well as I can be,” Elenor replied, pushing the hands away. “But why are you here? Aren’t you being babysit by those… those…”

“Yeah, it was a pain in the rear end to have to watch our step for two months. But then finally, Gertie and I and some others couldn’t take it anymore and gave them a piece of our mind. The imbeciles even tried to convince us we were still under your thrall, but after laying out the facts, they realized how ridiculous that was. We then coerced—eh hem.” Serel coughed, looking away. “We then asked them nicely to show us where they’d stashed you. I’ll be the first to admit I’m an excellent secretary, but it’s a mite hard to run a territory without a good lord.”

Suddenly, Elenor felt herself lifted into the air.

“Cave Fish, aren’t you lighter than when I saw you last?” Her head swiveled. Minotaur. Rozz.

“You, they said you were dead!”

Rozz nodded. “They thought I was dead. Turns out they underestimated the sturdiness of us mutants quite a bit. So I played dead, and when Gertie came around to check on the ‘body,’ she figured out I still had a pulse and secreted me away in the kitchen.”

Elenor’s breath hitched. If Rozz was alive, maybe… But she couldn’t hope. It would be all the worse after she’d already grieved their passing. “And the others? What were the casualties?”

“None,” Rozz whispered. Elenor clutched her cloak, vision blurring. “Everyone who might have died remembered what you said. Dying isn’t worth it. So we hid or vanished or fled or played dead. Gallae was the worst off, that mage of theirs lobbed a fire spell her way right as she was about to flee. That tree trunk was unconscious and still smoldering when Gertie found her.”

Elenor laughed. It was harder to see now. The tears were coming faster. “All of you?”

“Yes. We’re all fine. Just waiting to fetch you back. Can you walk?”

“I doubt it.”

“Well I suppose my muscles have to be good for something. Hold on, Cave Fish.”

It made for a very strange sight that day, as a tall, burly minotaur gently carried a laughing, sobbing siren out from a tower prison, followed closely by a short human. As the minotaur and his passenger walked away, the human paused by a group of three “heroes” who hovered awkwardly at the edges of the scene.

“Your cooperation was appreciated. Now, considering the damage you’ve done to our territory and its people, we’ll have to kindly ask you to leave.”

“Miss Serel,” a woman at the front with a sword protested.

Serel’s gaze turned sharp. “I know you still think they’re monsters, that she’s a tyrant. But actions speak louder than words, don’t they? You may not believe me, but she is the best lord we’ve had in ages. So I want you to watch as she grows this place into something truly amazing, as she proves that you’re wrong about her, that you’re wrong about everything. Now. Let me ask you to leave once more, and then I will no longer be asking.”

The woman with the sword hesitated. “Very well.”

As a party of three “heroes” left towards the territory border, another party of three "monsters" moved in the opposite direction.

They had work to do, after all.



wandering_cirrus t1_j997fhs wrote

For the first time in a long time, Elenor could see the night sky. How long had it last been since the work of running a territory hadn’t kept her up far into the night and sent her crashing into bed like a log as soon as she could tear herself away? It was beautiful, patches of dark and constellations of light painted across the void, just like she remembered it. Just like it was when Rozz first showed it to her.

The lump reformed in her throat. She buried her face deep in her knees, in the tattered remains of her cloak. “Stupid minotaur,” she muttered. “I told you it wasn’t worth your life. Any of you.”

She curled deeper into the corner of the cold tower. “Why did no one listen?”

The sky stole her gaze again. The legends said that the stars were the eyes of the dead watching over the living. That the brighter you lived, the brighter your eyes would be when you died. Were they already up there, watching?

If they were, they had to be the brightest stars in the sky.

“We were supposed to grow old, and then follow each other up like dominos after we were done with our work.” She laughed a little, grinning at the sky. “Although I suppose if I stay locked up in this prison, I won’t be long either. Bets on if it’ll be starvation or exposure?”

She reached up, trying and failing to touch the stars, to reach the dead that were beyond her grasp. “Yeah, my vote’s on starvation, too. That fish blood means I’m far too hardy to die of something like exposure. Keep an eye on me until then, will you? Sorry I couldn’t finish making the place we always wanted. Just wait for me. Surely some enterprising soul will share our dream and then all six of us can bless them.” The stars blurred before her eyes. “The blessings of six half-powered mutants who died too early should be worth something, right? And then there will finally be someplace where no one will call the people like us monsters…”

She knew she was dreaming. She had done this frantic search before, knew now that her mother’s amulet, the Protection of the Sea, the one thing that could have made everything end differently, was under the desk. But she couldn’t do anything, couldn’t change the series of events even as she lived through them again.

The doors to her office burst open to admit a group of three. She whirled, hand going to the sword at her side. It was only the second floor, and her office had a window. She could fight them off, find an opening, and then leap out the window when she got a chance. There was no shame in running. Besides, she’d told everyone else to do that, too. Penelope might have wanted to finish the fight, but she’d hammered it into that hard-headed harpy that fighting was bad if it meant dying. The person at the front of the group spoke.

“Your generals are dead, Siren. It’s time to end your tyranny, once and for all.”


The word stung, even after all these years. She wasn’t a siren, not even close. Her mother’s family had been very clear about that. Even a drop of human blood was enough to dilute siren magic into near unusability. And worse. She was a full half human. As they liked to remind her, for all that she looked and sounded like a daughter of the sea, she was little more than a waste.

And her “generals.” Did they mean her friends? Were they…? Her eyes fell on the weapons carried by the group. Blood coated the edge. She… she could smell it.

That blood. It belonged to them.

Her mind blanked.

“We’ve sealed the powers of your voice, Siren!” She jolted back to consciousness at the words of the magician in the back. “Your greatest weapon is useless, and after two months, the innocent people will be free from your monstrous influence! If you surrender without a fight, no one else has to die!”

No one else would die? Did that mean they’d spare her secretary, Serel, who was bitten by a vampire when she was ten? Did that mean Gertie, the doppelganger running the kitchen who just wanted to be a world-class chef would be safe?

The sword-bearing woman at the front rolled her eyes. “Shut up, Varg! Do you really think that would make the evil tyrant surrender so easily… huh?”

Elenor unbuckled her sword belt, let it fall to the ground. Tried to choke back the tears that were suffocating her. Rozz, Ilt, Keffer, Penelope, Gallae, and who knows who else were dead, but no one else would be. She raised her hands.

It was an easy choice, wasn’t it?

She awoke, and was soaking wet. She turned her face upwards, the little impacts of raindrops pattering across her cheeks. She had fallen asleep under the stars again last night, talking to her friends. It was a silly way to deal with grief, wasn’t it? Reminiscing like they were right there next to her, like they could ruffle her hair again, laugh, and drag her outside, joking that if she didn’t get out more, people would start to think she was descended from cave fish instead of sirens.

Elenor wrapped the sodden cloak around her more securely and edged under a section of the roof that was actually intact. Being wet wouldn’t necessarily make her sick, but the rain depressed her.

It meant she wouldn’t be able to see the stars tonight.


wandering_cirrus t1_j6lvxlv wrote

Yeah, writing longer things definitely is tiring, particularly if you're doing it in a single sitting or if the length of the story gets away from you (whistles while pointedly looking away from the multi-part monsters I've written in the past). It was definitely a good story though, and fun to read!


wandering_cirrus t1_j6lme9b wrote

Your description of the main character sort of made me think of John Constantine. This vignette definitely raises a lot of questions. Like, who is the obsidian man? What relationship does the main character have with the soon-to-be-dead man?


wandering_cirrus t1_j6llt72 wrote

Ooooo, this is an interesting take on the prompt! I'm not sure how the narrator was supposed to protect his friend from the cockroaches, but this is definitely a cool idea! Good words!


wandering_cirrus t1_j6lkpgj wrote

That last line was glorious. It was fun how the random drunkard turned out to be a powerful person. The punctuation was a little odd though, which did make your story kind of hard to read, but you still managed to get the plot and the funny bits across. Keep up the good work!


wandering_cirrus t1_j6ljfxj wrote

The relationship between the hero and the demon(?) is quite interesting! One small thing to note is that I think this would probably be easier to read if you broke it up into paragraphs?

Also the idea of a hero sending a demon books quite amuses me.


wandering_cirrus t1_j6li3s9 wrote


wandering_cirrus t1_j6lfpyt wrote

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed!

I will admit, portraying non-human characters in a way that shows how Other they are while still making them relatable is one of the things I like to play with in my writing. It's awesome that you think I hit that this time!


wandering_cirrus t1_j6lfj4d wrote


wandering_cirrus t1_j6lf7ag wrote


wandering_cirrus t1_j6leog3 wrote