Drowning in Deep Waters
Disclaimer: All characters, Terya, Lan and the Phyrea, in this are
copyrighted to me. I created them and this world that they are in. Please
do not take anything from this without asking me first.
" Oh!" Lan turned to see the speaker and was glad that it was none
other than his traveling companion, but also a bit miffed that she had
broken in on his bath time.
" I didn't know that you were going to be naked!"
Lan sighed and turned his back to her, surmising that if he couldn't
hide his dignity- and other things- then he could at least save her the
trouble of going into vapors. " Well, do you usually bathe with your
clothes on?" He asked acidly, strangely angry that she had seen him in his
weakest moment, with nothing but his charm and the water to clothe him, and
neither of the two were doing very well at the moment.
" No, actually." Terya said loftily and Lan heard the splash of water,
felt the ripples in the deep pond. " Father didn't believe in modesty. My
sisters and I had to bathe at the communal bath house with all the other
people." She giggled softly. " Don't worry, I shan't peek."
Lan kept his laugh to himself and thought that it wasn't herself that
she had to worry about with the peeking, but himself. Slowly, he turned
around, keeping his eyes closed until he had turned the whole way to face
her and opened them. Terya was not to be seen! Suddenly, soft hands came up
on his shoulders and pushed him down, heaving his head under the water. He
came up sputtering and thrashing around, creating graceful arcs of water as
he spun around, looking for her.
Her crystalline giggles sounded behind him and he turned around. She
floated there, her head in the water up to her nose and her big blue eyes
staring up at him from the water's depth. She slowly rose until her
shoulders were bared, but her hands were shielding her chest. " I knew you
couldn't swim." She said, looking at him doubtfully from her place in the
True, she was in the deeper part, where he had stayed to the shallows.
The pond did a steep drop off until about a few inches to where he was
standing, where Terya was floating. He merely looked down at her, her dark
brown hair floating in tendrils and strands around her. Her skin looked
even paler under the water, and her cheeks were flushed from the exertions
she had put herself through in dunking him. Her breathing made her chest
heave, and she was slowly letting her hands drop from her chest. She
trailed them out on the surface, lithe like little water snakes. He
couldn't believe this was happening.
Terya screamed at herself. She didn't know what she was doing, and
would probably end up making a fool out of herself. And yet.
Ever since she had gotten Lan to agree to letting her come with him on
his journey, to take her away from her kingdom and castle and her family,
she had dreamed about him, had dreamed about a moment like this. For once
she knew something out in the wilderness that Lan didn't: She loved him.
Lan was everything that she thought she'd never want. About her
height, a strong body kept thin and lithe by years of continuous walking
and moving about the world. His black hair was usually kept back by that
horrible tatty blue bandana that he wore, but now she saw that it hung to
his shoulders and was slightly shaggy, but would have looked wonderful
simply tied back in a tail. His face was lean and strong, his sun darkened
skin glowing brazenly and lending a sense of depth to his shining green
eyes. She drew her eyes down his body and felt a blush come up in her
cheeks as she fought to keep her vision from straying much past where the
water hit him at his hips. She didn't know how many nights she had dreamed
of stripping him of his shirt and gently trapping his hips with her hands
as she leaned down and kissed him.
Her hands glided out from her of their own accord, moving deftly
towards Lan's hips. His tongue darted out and wet his lips, full and thin
at the same time, another feature of him that drove her crazy. His eyes
were feverish as he opened his mouth like a landed fish.
" What are you doing?" He asked hoarsely, his own hands twitching at
his sides as if wanting to do something, but unsure of what Terya was going
She swam a little closer until she could grip the edge of the drop off
with her toes and slid her hands up his arms to wrap her fingers around his
shoulder. She drew herself level with him, having to tip her head up to
look at his face from the steep angle they were at. He parted his lips and
she caught his line of thought, as if she couldn't already with their
bodies nearly pressed together.
' Oh no you don't!' She thought, then looked at the heated passion in
his eyes. ' At least, not yet.'
She opened her mouth also. " I'm going to teach you how to swim." She
whispered huskily, and let herself fall back, sweeping a foot under his and
causing Lan to fall with her into the depths.
Lan gasped as Terya tripped him under the water and held onto him,
making him fall with her. He would have gloried in the tender body against
him, made hard by weeks of traveling, but he was too busy pushing her off
him and scrambling to the surface for air. He broke surface and treaded
water, going under every few minutes or so and then coming up. Tears
streamed down his face and he very nearly hated Terya in that moment, but
at the same time forgiving her. She could never have known about his fear
of water, seeing as he hadn't really felt the need to open up and tell her
anything about his past.
Suddenly, he was under again and something was wrapped around his
ankle. He looked down under water, having the new experience of taking a
breath before going under. There was a small woman, as blue skinned as the
water around her and black eyed, her long silver hair flowing around her as
she pulled herself up his body. Her mouth was open and he was vaguely aware
of a lulling song in the back of his head.
He smiled and reached out to her, letting his breath out as she
reached his waist and pulled him down farther so they were on eye level.
She kissed him, her tongue searching his mouth dangerously. He kept on
smiling, even when he felt his lungs screaming for air and opened his eyes
to see the water going dark.
Terya leapt back into the water with the knife in her teeth, the way
she had seen a fisherman do when one of the little children got tangled in
a patch of seaweed. She thought that Lan had been caught by one of the
tendrils of clingweed at the bottom, but as she dove under the water, she
was wrong. Lan was held in the arms of a blue-skinned, silver haired minx.
Her eyes sparkled blackly as she released him from her kiss, but not from
her arms. It was a phyrea, a water undine gone wrong for some reason. Evil
made their bodies blossom into a beautiful being and their minds turn to
constant thoughts of sex and the lovers that they could trap in their
Terya took the knife in her hand and screamed a challenge through the
water, catching the phyrea's attention. The woman let go of his waist with
one arm and motioned a finger towards her. Phyrea weren't picky what gender
they captured. ' It's your lucky day, you little bitch.' Terya thought as
she mimed being caught in her song and swam towards the monster.
But as soon as the phyrea touched her shoulder, she slashed out with
her knife and caught the monster in the shoulder. Undines have delicate
bones, and it seemed that the change from undine to phyrea hadn't done
anything to strengthen them. The knife sliced right through to her little
fishy guts and the phyrea let go of Lan, backpedaling with a scream of hurt
and confusion. Terya caught Lan in a one armed hold, forgetting about the
knife as she used all her strength and reserved air to swim swiftly up to
the bank. Hauling him up onto the sands, she laid him out and pounded on
his chest until he coughed up water and moaned, but didn't start breathing
" Dammit Lan! Don't you dare leave me stranded here!" She slapped him
and then covered his mouth with hers like she had been shown by the
She had to straddle him to get the right angle and then put her hands
on his chest, pushing breath out after she breathed it into him. After a
few minutes, he still wasn't breathing and she gave up, laying her head on
his chest and covering it with her arms, letting out the hysterical sobs
that had been building in her ever since she had reached the shore.
" You can't leave me like this, Lan! You promised that you would take
me to your family's lands and show me how to live like a gypsy! You can't
leave me now." Her voice shrank down to a whisper when she felt him groan
and move under her.
" And why can't I?" He whispered, not yet having full control over his
voice after the attack.
" Because," She strained her voice to keep the tears out. " I love
That night, Lan lay by the fire while Terya fed more wood to it and
poured the willowbark tea for him. She settled herself down and rewrapped
herself in her blanket, handing the cup to Lan, who sat against the pile of
their packs and a few rocks.
" Drink it." She said sternly. " It will bring down the fever and
you'll fell much better in the morning, trust me."
" I won't ever have a problem with that again." He said, half serious,
and half to be lightening up her mood.
She looked at him darkly and he sipped his tea obediently, grimacing
at the bitter taste. When at last the whole cup was gone, which seemed like
forever to Lan, he set it down and cleared his throat, catching Terya's
" When you said what you did, at the lake-?" Lan started, but Terya
stopped him with an eloquent gesture, the raising of an open hand, fingers
spread and palm flat in the air.
" I meant it." She said flatly, as if she meant it, but regretted
saying it. " I don't suppose you believe me though, seeing as you probably
have twenty different towns with girls that tell you that every time you
Lan fumed, though kept his thoughts behind a careful mask. Dammit,
this was why he hadn't wanted to let her go in the first place! She was
moody, unreliable, untrained, too young to be out on the road with her
pampered background. but as he looked at her he realized that she was all
of those things and more. Over the past few months that they had been
traveling together, he had come to care for her, if only because caring
about her would make her easier to bear, but slowly, without him noticing,
that caring feeling had turned into something altogether. It was more than
an animalistic need, it was more than just wanting a young, warm body
underneath him, it went beyond desire. He had come to love her.
He wouldn't not admit that he hadn't thought about her in the ways
that men usually did of girls and women, but he had imagined it in a way
that they wouldn't just part in the morning after falling asleep. That he
would wake up and still have her in his arms and watch her sleep until she
herself woke and he could see her in all her morning glory, mussed hair and
sleep crusted eyes and all.
" I... used to. But then something happened to me and I stopped caring
about what they said to me when I came to visit them." He said, picking up
the cup and rolling it in his hands softly to distract him.
" What happened?" She asked, her voice losing some of its sting.
" You did." Now he looked up into her eyes, across the fire. The
flames were echoed in her blue depths, like a kinder version of a stormy
ocean. " You ran away from your home and the only friends and family that
you had, all to see the world and be with me. You left everything that made
you happy to go with a ragtag, wandering, thieving, homeless fool of a
Terya's lips were in a surprised little 'o', her eyes wide and
shining. But as soon as he smiled and reached for her, she let her face
drop into neutrality and she turned away, going to lay down on her bedroll.
She had laid it out over by the huge oak tree that was sheltering them, and
she knew full well that he could not get up and walk over there. He dropped
his arms and fell back onto his bed. Tipping his head back and letting the
small breeze play with his air dried curls, he let it dry the tears that
slipped down his cheeks and pooled around his collarbone. He opened his
mouth to let out a keening wail of pain, but nothing came out.
Terya tremblingly made her way over to her bed. Her whole body shaking
with sobs not yet let out, she laid down and sniffled into her makeshift
pillow of a shirt stuffed with grasses and straw. It was Lan's shirt, or
one that he had worn to near rags and was only good enough to make into a
pillow. Once it had smelled like him, warm and musky and fiery, but now
that she had had it for so long, it smelled of nothing but the grasses she
used to stuff it.
She knew she was headed for pain the moment that he had thought she
was going kiss him in the pool, and then she'd tripped him. She could have
just followed through with what her body wanted, with what Lan had
evidently wanted, but her mind had told her not to, and she couldn't
remember a time where she had followed her heart instead of her mind.
No, she could. When she was running to save Lan. Her head had been
screaming that he was dead and she should just forget him, but her heart
had said that she could save him. And she had saved him.
But now she needed someone to save her, she was drowning in her sorrow
and her fear. She loved Lan, and she was perfectly okay with saying so, but
acting on her words would be hard. She'd nearly lost him, and now he knew
and he had confessed his feelings for her, that they were the same as hers.
But would that make it any easier?
' No,' Her mind whispered to her.
She agreed with it again and turned over in her bed, watching Lan from
her place. The wind made the firelight flicker over his face and she was
shocked to see that he was crying. Lan, who was so strong and had never
made a sound when she'd set his broken finger, who hunted small cute furry
animals with a ruthless ease, who she had seen kill a man, was crying.
It made her ache inside, made her want to go and comfort her, but she
knew that that would only lead to things that she wasn't ready to deal
with. So she brushed away her own tears and turned over to face the oak
In the morning Lan awoke to the smell of smoke. He opened his eyes and
found that the fire had burned itself out, something that Terya had never
let happen before. But as he looked around, it became apparent that Terya
was not there. She had taken her things and left. Even the small cup that
he had drank out of the night before was gone, and in its place a note,
written on a piece of parchment that had been ripped off of something.
Terya's neat, precise handwriting scrolled a few lines, and he was glad
that she had taught him enough Common to understand. She'd even repeated it
in his own language in case he couldn't understand the Common.
" My dear Lan, I have gone, and I think that you are smart enough to
know why." He read aloud, letting the flowing syllables of the Common
tangle his tongue. " I have set out on my own, for traveling with you would
only bring more strife and pain for us both. Please do not come looking for
me. When the time is right, we will meet each other again, just like the
teachings of Carva the Eternally Reincarnated. ' Souls that have loved in
one life will love again in another.' I shall miss you with every part of
myself, but this is for the best and you will come to see that."
She had signed her name, but he felt his throat close painfully as he
tried to say it. She had left him, and from the looks of her note, she did
not intend of meeting up again until they had died and been reborn.
'She might believe in that kind of rubbish.' He thought furiously as
he threw the note onto the still glowing embers of the fire, and watched it
burst into flames and dry up just as quickly. ' But I was not raised to
believe such. I will find her again.'