Thursday, October 16, 2014

City of Curses: The Sea Witch 1

The Sea Witch
Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

I sighed, the saltwater above me stirring as I did.  I knew the words would carry, the subtle aura around me would do that much.

"No, Teorgio- I don't provide that kind of service."

The skinny man head drooped at that.  He knew better than to press me on this sort of thing.  He put
up a hand in a placating gesture of surrender.

"Ok, ok.  I just have a timeline is all, Arsania- there isn't anything She could do for you?"

I caught the subtle emphasis on she.  Teorgio worked for The Voice, albeit indirectly and in his own way.  In addition to being the best known musician on this side of the Maru Sea, the Voice also was the title of the highest priestess in the religion only known as a The Singer of the Song.
Charity work was a favorite thing of hers too.  She had foundations and groups that combed the city for people to help or causes worth her attention.  It made her a prominent political force. In Crux that also meant The Voice had enemies.

The last thing I needed was new enemies.

"You trying to tempt me with something?  You can't make wishes for me, you know that.  I'm a sea witch.  I predict the weather and make charms against the chill.  Why should I risk what I have already?"

Teorgio gave a weak smile.  Even though he stood over my head at the surface, I still could sense his disappointment at that- he sounded almost desperate.  I didn't need magic senses to read that.

"Thought it might be worth a try anyway."  He turned toward the door.

"What were you going to ask for anyway?"  I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.

"Never mind... You said no.  I've got to find someone who can... Do this deed. See you around, Arsania."

I bid him goodbye.  I tried not to ponder his words, although part of me worried about the potential consequences.  We Cecaelia like our privacy.  I was considerably extroverted for one of my kind- I ran a shop for dirtwalkers.

But I liked my privacy, just a different sort than my sisters at sea would understand.  The rest of that day went by quietly.  A inkstained woman stopped by to pick up the weekly forecast for one of the newspapers.  A grumpy old fisherman stopped by for a charm that evening.  Both tried to exchange in small talk with me.  I surprised both with my lack of comment.

When Oddfellow stopped by, it made my day.  The bizarre Knight of Summer Flame smiled, the half of his face covered in red plate not detracting from it.  He bent down, but I floated to the surface of the saltwater pit in my shop, eager to greet him again.

"How does the day warm you, my lady?"  Oddfellow bowed.

"You only do that to make me blush, Oddfellow."  I felt my cheeks glow purple at his comments.

"As you asked, I have delievered a message to your kin."  Oddfellow paused, bending down.  He picked up something from the floor I hadn't noticed before.  "Your sisters wish you well."

"And I wish them well.  They still want me to come back home?"

"In as few words."  Oddfellow held up a silvery ring.  "Is this yours?  I never guessed you for jewelry, Arsania."

"I still can't believe they can tolerate you."  I shook my head.  "We hide ourselves from all sorts of humans or halfings or others, but one misshapen android calling himself a knight, and we fall over him."

"I am a knight."  Oddfellow corrected.  Then he paused.  "Although, I expected Octopusfolk to perhaps have better tastes myself."

That made me giggle a little.  Then I sensed it.  A brief bit in the air, the smell of something.  I looked at the silver ring Oddfellow held.

Oddfellow grimaced, his expression pained.

"Oddfellow, what's wrong?"

"This ring is a stain."  He grunted the words, his gears creaking from sort of strain.  "Darkness.  Something evil lurking in it."

I studied the ring.  It made me want to hiss.  "Twins damn it Teorgio- Sorry Oddfellow."

"I agree on the damning part, I think."  Oddfellow dropped the ring onto the ground.  "What sort of dark thing is that?"

"A ring with a mind trapped in it."  I told him.  "A cursed ring, with a demon trapped inside.  Most likely a daughter of Shraxes."

*****
New short story.  More will come.  Enjoy!