Authors note: - Yet another story I started a little while back, this is the first real hard core fantasy story I've ever written. This feels weird to say considering I like high fantasy best of all… Oh well. It features Keii the unlucky assassin and his new roommate Harlequin. Enjoy and I'm not sure if it's done or not… Oh yeah and Keii is pronounced just like key, and this takes place on my very own world of Novis-Savari.
Someone slapped me smartly across the cheek and I sat up so quickly I nearly hit my head on the bunk above me. A turn of my head reviled the culprit, it was my bunkmate Harlequin. She hung upside down over the edge of her bed grinning at me insanely. In the dimly lit room only half of her hair and skin showed, the rest was even darker than the room.
"Awake I see!" She whispered gleefully.
I glared at her silently for a moment then remarked. "You woke me up." My continued glare was only rewarded with a curious look and shrug.
"Yes, but your awake none the less." Her smile widened. "And now that you're awake I can show you something special!" She rolled off of the bunk and landed silently on her feet. How she could move so quietly while wearing a multitude of bells boggled my mind, but I had long ago learned it's just best not to ask when it came to Harlequin.
We'd only been bunkmates for a week and already she was acting like she was my best friends. I had just moved in after gaining rank and was just one step away from being a full guild member. Harlequin was considered a full guild member but couldn't legally perform the duties of one. The law considered her too young, even though she was eighty plus years old. As an elf she had to wait till she was at least ninety to be a legal assassin.
I groaned softly and rolled out of bed as well, she watched me with a big smile and bright happy eyes. Since the first time I'd met her she had yet to frown or even stop smiling for a moment. She always seemed so damned cheerful. I wasn't sure if I should be jealous or irritated with this. After another moment of glaring at her I shuffled over to the chest at the foot of our bed and knelt down beside it. Harlequin paced, danced and spun around to room impatiently. I opened the chest and withdrew a pair of black cotton pants a matching long sleeved shirt and black boots.
After donning the simple clothes I turned to my bunkmate, only to find her doing a hand-stand. Her numerous long braids lay across the floor, each was tipped a pair of silver bells that only seemed to jingle when she wished them too. Her head tilted forward and she regarded me with an impatient look.
Upon seeing my tired nod followed by a yawn she rolled to her feet and skipped over to the window, opened it and dropped out. I followed suit with a weary sigh. Both of us landed in near complete silence, the streets were completely empty. Bums knew better than to bed down near the assassins guild.
Overhead the sky was full of heavy clouds that had been threatening to rain all day but never came through. It seemed they were just about ready to drop their load, I hoped they got back to bed before that happened. The city around them seemed almost dead, not a single sound filtered through the barren streets. All the windows were dark and every one was tucked away into their beds sleeping peacefully, wrapped in their warm blankets, unlike me and my crazy roommate.
Harlequin was already far down the street by the time I realized I was alone. She didn't look back and kept skipping along. I had to jog to catch up with her.
"Where are we going anyway?" I asked as I moved quickly beside my hoppy companion.
"You'll see." Was all she said.
I sighed heavily. "Do you put all your room mates through this?"
"Nope! I only show this to people I like!" She winked and suddenly started running. "Come on! You'll miss it!"
I flinched as she yelled. So much for assassins being quiet and subtle, then again Harlequin was about as subtle as a raging thunder dragon. She had yet to show her self to be as dangerous as one though and I hoped it would stay that way.
With yet another sigh I ran after her. What the heck could she want to show me! It isn't like I hadn't seen every damned thing the city had to offer. I had been born and raised here. Yet apparently she knew some great 'secret'. It was probably just something stupid.
It didn't take me long to realize we were heading towards the docks, the smell of sea water hit me in the face full force. Not to mention the accompanying stench of fish and unwashed sailors. My room mate came to a skidding halt and looked around wildly, then shot off again. Running full tilt towards the water. I blinked in surprise and ran after her, almost afraid the crazy girl was going to take me for a midnight swim. I hate water!
Again she came to an abrupt halt, before us lay the Sapphire Bay. Ships were moored at the docks, rocking gently in the water the sounds of them hitting it were rhythmic and almost peaceful. Beyond the docks a fragile bridge connected the two sides of the bay together; on each end was an equally delicate lighthouse. The brilliant but lovely magical blue light they shone looked like two stars lost in the cloudy night.
As if to remind us of their presence the clouds over head gave a warning rumble. Seems their threat was going to be at long last fulfilled. I looked to Harlequin who was apparently starring off into space. Stopping beside her I looked into her face. For once she wasn't smiling but had a look of pure peace. She shifted slightly and looked at me, her smile returning. Though it lacked its usual mad edge.
"I like water." She simply said turning back to the sea.
I looked as well. "Um, it's not that great. Just a big puddle really. Nothing special about it."
She looked at me as if I was the insane one. "Water is the element of life."
Admittedly I was a little startled to hear such 'sage' words come from her. Her smile widened, almost returning to what passed for her twisted version of normal.
"Is this the special thing you wanted to show me?" I asked giving her my patented 'you know your crazy right?' look.
"Just listen, then you'll see." She continued to stare off in the direction of the sea, with an expectant look.
Turning once again towards the water I looked at it, no fully sure what I was supposed to be hearing. The sounds of the sea were starting to make me sleepy. My eye lids started to get heavy then a sudden sound snapped me back awake. It was a single crystalline note, so pure that no human could possibly mimic it. I looked around wildly trying to locate the singer.
Harlequin was way ahead of me on that and was already moving in the direction of the sound. She paused and looked over her shoulder at me, lifted a finger to her lips and softly shushed me. Then grinned like a fool and sprinted off in the direction of the voice. I was already getting used to having to follow her and ran after.
We arrived a good distance away on the outside of the cove, the beach was covered in volcanic rock and posed a difficult challenge in walking on in the dark. But I was trained to walk over far more deadly obstacle while blinded and was happy to be able to use my skills. I was so focused on the rocks under my feet that I nearly ran over my much shorter companion. She swayed slightly as my chest pressed against her back but held her ground.
Her eyes were locked on a figure lounging on a large smooth flat rock; I stared over her head and couldn't really make out much about her. Other than the fact that it was indeed a she. The clouds briefly gave way to the moon and delicate threads of silvery light shown down perfectly onto the figure of the woman.
She had hair so long it reached her stretched out toes, I couldn't discern its color in the dark but her skin was clearly very pale. Her head was tilted back as she sang to the heavens; I was in awe over the sounds that poured forth from her throat. One thing I clearly saw in the wane light was the fact that she was completely naked, only her hair kept her modest. It took me longer than I'd like to realize that she was a siren.
Harlequin suddenly leaned back against me and grinned up at me. She winked at me and looked back towards the honeyed voiced singer. I shivered slightly and bent down to whisper in her ear. "You do realize that sirens are known to lead men to their watery grave, right?"
She nodded quickly, her bells still silent. I sighed heavily into her pointed ear and commented dryly to her. "I always knew I'd die in the water."
My insane companion reached back and put her small hand over my mouth and held it there. I remained slightly bent over and watched the deadly vocalist do what she does best. Another voice soon rose in the dark and joined hers in a breath taking duet. Out of the water rose a second long haired siren. I was surprised to hear her voice was deeper, a pleasing compliment to the soprano song of the first. She sprawled out on the rock beside her sister and they sang louder and with greater passion.
Distantly in my mind their voices touched something that sent a shudder through my whole body. A tingling sensation ran from my toes to my fingers, a calm that only slightly bothered me fell over my mind. With out being bidden to my body began to move towards them. I suddenly felt as if my conscious self was trapped in a little cage deep in my own brain.
Harlequin watched me pass her with a slightly puzzled expression and made no move to stop me as I stumbled towards the sirens. I raged against my prison to no avail, their song was too powerful. They both turned to look at me and smiled as one, their song grew even more dominating and it called me to them. I fell to my knees on the rocks and felt it cut into my skin, the brief pain did nothing to distract from their control. It was very strange to feel like a spectator in my own body.
The siren who I first laid eyes on reached out and touched my cheek; her skin was cold and slippery. I really, really, wished Harlequin would stop just standing there watching and do something. The first day I met her I knew she was going to be the death of me. It sucked being right all the time.
"You are a lovely little man." A voice slipped through my mind, she even felt cold and wet inside my head.
The second siren leaned over her sister and stared at me with large aqua colored eyes. "What shall we do with this one sister?" She queried in my mind and presumably in her sisters as well.
"I say we have our fun with him before we eat him." The first said flashing sharp teeth.
"Oh yes, he looks very delicious." Her sister replied in a purring voice that slithered through my head.
No matter how hard I tried my body didn't respond to my will, nothing seemed work. Every little way of avoiding mind games that were taught to me by the guild failed to work, but I also had to remind my self they were preventative measures. Once a creature had your mind you were pretty well and good fucked.
I felt a weight settle against my back and both sirens looked over my shoulder with a displeased look. The chipper and cheerful voice of my room mate cut clearly through their song. "Hello."
The second siren stopped singing and stood, her hand flexed and she extended talons that dripped with poison. "He is our dinner land-walker, find your own."
Harlequin stood and I really wished I could see what she was doing. "No, he's mine. I saw him first." She said in a child like tone.
The siren lashed out over my head, a few drops of poison splashed across my back. She shrieked in rage when she apparently missed. The first siren stood and drew me to my feet; I was almost hoping that when the other one stopped singing I'd be free. Apparently the Gods weren't in the mood to help me much. The siren placed a hand over my chest and turned me around to face Harlequin. Who I found crouched like a cat ready to pounce on a rather tall rock about five feet away from us.
"Give him back." Harlequin snapped in a dark tone I'd never heard from her before.
"You will have to fight us both for him." The siren who held me said. I felt a pinch in my neck and within a heartbeat my whole body went numb. With a heavy thud I hit the rocks and was very happy I couldn't feel anything. Though I was extremely happy to have my mind free.
I did have a pretty good view of the events that unfolded around me. From her perch Harlequin grinned like a madman and reached behind her drawing a pair of long slender short swords. The pair of sirens beside me readied their poison lased talons and hissed at her like a couple of angry snakes.
"I will feed your souls to my God!" Harlequin exclaimed as she leaped into the air. Her body gracefully arched through the darkness, nothing more than a flash of black and white. The sirens dodged to each side quickly, one diving into the water the other jumping to another rock ungracefully.
As Harlequin's landed on the rock I lay across she pivoted gracefully. I watched in wonderment as she threw her right dagger into the air, caught it by the end of the blade and threw it with deadly accuracy into the exposed side of the land bound siren. The siren threw her head back and let out an inhuman screech of pain. Blood flowed down her naked body in waves from where the dagger had pierced her side. It was buried to the hilt, an action only made possible by the fact no bone had gotten in the way of its entry. The siren fell to her side and struggled to remove the blade.
With out warning Harlequin fell face first onto the sharp rocks beside me, the siren sister ridding her to the ground and clawing at her back with abandon. I struggled to move but the poison was thick in my blood and forced me to watch my friend suffer while I lay helpless. Screaming with beautiful rage the sea-creature dug deep bleeding gouges into Harlequin's back, to my growing horror she did nothing to protect her self and made no move to flee. She simply lay across the rocks bleeding; her eyes squeezed shut in pain.
The first siren stood and held the now freed dagger in her hand. She stalked towards the carnage and shifted her grip on the knife, preparing to stab my roommate. I tried to cry out, to do anything. In the end my options were to watch the end of my guild-mate or close my eyes. I chose not to dishonor her with my cowardice and watched, praying to any deity that heard my cries that she would be avenged.
Harlequin's eyes flung open and a look of pure madness and evil flashed through her mismatched eyes. Her lips curled into a dark smirk and she lifted her right hand. I stared intently to see what she held in her grip. Her delicate hand shifted and I caught a glimpse of an egg shaped polished stone with an arcane symbol etched into it. She squeezed it and the rune flashed a brilliant red. The siren on her back lurched upwards, her back exploding in a rush of blood and fell into the water. The first plunged the dagger down towards my comrade's head. Harlequin simply rolled onto her back and kicked the siren in the face with one little foot.
She stumbled back from the blow and fell onto the rocks. Her body spasmed briefly and she went limp. Harlequin slowly stood and shook her self off. The moonlight clearly showed her exposed back to be in perfect condition. Though her clothes remained ragged her body was unharmed. She knelt beside me and smiled.
"How are you?"
"Get… Me… Out… Of… Here…" I managed to slowly say through my paralysis.
Harlequin took hold of my arm and flung me over her shoulder. She stumbled and nearly fell under my weight but doggedly carried me back to the city. I couldn't help but marvel at her strength. For an elf that was a good two feet smaller than me she managed my heavy self pretty well.
We arrived back at the docks and she dropped me onto my back. Once again I was happy that my body felt nothing than dull sensations of pressure, not pain. She flopped down beside me and tucked her feet under her. After a moment of searching her person she produced another egg shaped stone. She examined it carefully then bounced it off of my forehead.
"Ouch! That hurt!" I yelled grabbing my head.
"It worked though." She said with a merry grin.
I looked down at my self and found that every thing worked properly. Unfortunately that meant I could feel pain again and it hit me with a vengeance. With a loud groan and dropped my arm to the ground and laid very still, hoping the pain would leave soon but knowing it wouldn't.
Harlequin leaned over me and gave me such a sad puppy eyed look I instantly wanted to make her feel better. She said in a soft heartbreaking voice. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for you to get hurt."
"You know what Harle; I would say it's ok but… You nearly got me killed!" I yelled into her face.
She flinched and sat back, to my dismay she began to cry. Not just simple little sniffling but full out sobs and huge tears. I sat up and stared at her in shock. She started to make a horrible wailing sound of pure misery. It cut right to my heart and I wanted to do anything to make her feel better.
"No, please don't do that Harlequin!" I said touching her shoulder. She flinched away from me and sobbed even harder. Distantly I couldn't help but wonder if she was just manipulating me, but for the life of me I couldn't tell. "I'm sorry; I didn't mean to yell at you. Just please stop crying."
It was as she couldn't hear me, she just kept crying more and more. I was at a lose for what to do when I had a sudden inspiration. She acted a great deal like a child and it never bothered her when I treated her like one. So I took her in my arms and held her tight. She almost instantly stopped crying and cuddled into me. I sighed and rested my chin on the top of her head. "Please don't cry like that ever again Harlequin."
"Ok Keii." She muttered into my chest.
"Can we go home now?" I asked, not at all attempting to mask my weariness.
"Ok!" Harlequin said leaping to her feat like an excited squirrel. She extended her hand to me and I took it against my better judgment.
She dragged me back to the guild, skipping most of the way. I had to admit it was pleasant holding her hand; it wasn't something I ever got to do with any other female. We arrived under our window and I watched her scurry up the wall, making my previous analogy to a squirrel all the more accurate. I followed her up with a touch more dignity and was never more happy in my life to see my bed.
I quickly undressed on my way to my goal and leapt under the covers. After a moment of enjoying the soft mattress and my warm blankets I felt a weight on the edge of my bed. With out opening my eyes I said softly. "What Harle?"
"Can I sleep with you tonight?" She asked in a small child like voice.
After a moment of reluctance I opened my eyes, she stared at me forlornly and once again she had me caught. "Alright, get in."
I lifted the covers and she snuggled up to my chest with the happiest smile. Nothing ever seemed to be halfway with her, she was either happy or sad, never a pleasant in between. I closed my eyes and relaxed; she laid her head on my chest and rubbed my belly. To my irritation it felt really good. I began to wonder what happened to her old room mates, let alone what she did to the one's she didn't like. That thought left me more than a little afraid. But at least sleeping with her was uneventful, unlike everything else with her.