How can I define what life is when I had but only one tender lick to its flavor perfection? If I had to perish twice in this brutal world, it would be in the name of my father, mother…and sister. But…if there was any scenario for me to mend my mistakes—at any price, I would pay it a thousand times over. I wouldn’t mind that the pain would strike me a million times worth of daggers, a million wounds to endure. A million  scares to expose. They were there and now forever.
1. Homecoming

“Saphira?” I muttered lightly, I felt my lips only twitch.
“Mmm?” she snapped looking through her rear mirror to glance at my expression. “Yes?” 
I didn’t realize until this moment how hard it would be to ask what I wanted though I could feel my mouth trembling in ach; yearning to hear the truth. “I needed to know…”
“Yes?” she focused her full attention to my eyes as her own could so calmly face the road at the same instant.
“About mom…why would she do it?” I whispered. I could feel the same agony her own soul felt while her eyes became sharp but saddened. I knew what I did to her and I regretted it. But I also was aware that this would be the only chance I would ever be alone with her and I didn’t dare ask such a thing with an audience. 
“The hiding?” she finally spoke, though I could easily tell that she didn’t want me to force it out of myself so hardly.
“No…her sacrifice?” I felt my face burn icily hot as it became paralyzed in awe  and I didn’t dare move it a single inch in fear that tears would soon again begin to spill.
“She loved you.” Saphira took her gaze off the mirror and pulled the car in through a dirt road surrounded my thick wood trees.
“And Elora?” I demanded. “She was young, she was loved.”
It only took but a hesitation to understand her complexion. “But who was younger Arowen? Who was the daughter that was cared for beyond nurture?”
“You mean the weak one, is that it then? Pity?”
She paused dead for a three quarters of a second. “You know that’s not what I meant.”
My face instantaneously began leaving traces behind in horror of my own doing. “I—I’m so sorry—Saphira I—”
“It’s alright Arowen, I understand your grieve. I too wish I could do something to stop it but…it was her choice. We can't deny her her own free will.”
My cheek felt hot—stained red with shame, but through this sensation, a cold liquid drop was flowing down my face until it reached the tip of my chin and fell to the floor. “The will to die…” I wasn’t a question through I wanted it to be so it could be denied.
“Every nymph and nymphet has the choice to die—but as you know, we never leave. She could as well be dwelling in the rivers and the lakes. She would still even fallow you through the spring rains and hard winters throughout the frozen waters and snowfalls.”
“And Elora? Will she be fallowing me through the winds, through the storms? She wasn’t that complete as mom.”
“Ah…but nymph blood still runs through her veins. She may be with us right now, the air we breath through…yes.”
“Your right of course, as always.” we both laughed lightly.
“Try not to worry then dear, it’ll work out.”
“And the others…the other nymphs…are they—”
“Aware? Well they certainly are. They have been waiting for your homecoming since the day you left the estate.”
I smiled widely. “I don’t remember them well but…the laughter, their voices. I heard you remind mom that Emilian and I were like to peas in a pot, like my older brother.”
“Ah yes, but do not fear, Emilian hasn’t changed since the day he turned seventeen. He is still…well he’s still Emilian.”
“Is he—well, has he mentioned me in the past?” I wondered out of curiosity.
She chuckled sarcastically. “Frequently—oh he is so anxious for your arrival. He knows the sorrow you feel and he wants to do something about it, if you know what I mean.”
“Saphira!” I gasped in disbelief. “It’s been two decades for gods sake.”
“The Drying Tears will not be such a complicated approach, you’ll get your privacy.”
I ignored the second part. “The Drying Tears? Still here, to this day?”
She shrugged. “Might not be a modern tactic, but it’s a classic. What’s up with these teens these days. ‘You want to get laid?’—I mean, what kind of way is that to ask a lady for her love?”
I broke into a loud laughter at her unexpected poor imitation. No these days, it was far worst than that. She laughed with me for a while, then we both fell silent.
I knew The Drying Tears very well, that was how mom and dad met, of course, not that anybody wanted to get into details. But the procedure was quite simple, a nymphet could lay crying over her bed until the male nymph came up to look for her. He would act friendly to her and offer her his companionship if she were to accept him, he would then dry her tears with his tongue and begin kissing her on the throat. Then she would have to respond to his love by allowing him to touch her lips and make her his. It was nothing but a mating approach as it seemed to me, but others like mom and Saphira considered it to be something beyond to what love meant in this world. It made me wonder, how long could you wait to find your mate?
“What about Crusia?” I finally asked. “Is she still partial?”
“Crusia you say? She still remains single to this point in life but is still considered young.”
“But I heard you say that you don’t come across creatures like her every other day. I mean to say that well, Aurais aren’t considered the most beautiful of nymphets—but to find someone with that perfection in Crusia, how can she still remain single?”
“It can happen,” she suggested. “but I just know it won’t be long until she has her own way.”
“And you Saphira? Are you trying to get your own way”
The question caught her unguarded by her well preservation and she flushed red. “I well—no, of course not—I mean—I’m not that kind of nymphet.” 
“Then what are you, besides a fire siren?” 
“It has nothing to do with our nature Arowen. My ability to influence fire at will is only a small part of who I am. We all have different choices. Sure my kind tends to blush by the very mention of mating approaches but—I really don’t mind that I’m single and that I will remain that way for the rest of the millenniums that are to come. You like to know why Crusia remains single despite the unbelievable concept of her beauty perfection?” 
I remained silent waiting for her to continue.
“She got herself an extra mouth to feed.”
“She’s pregnant?!” I exclaimed. Twenty-five-year-old Crusia?
“Not offspring, a sibling of course.”
“Crusia has a younger sister, how did I not know?”
“You were only a child still. Nygini is only ten—the literal kind.”
“But—how?” I muttered stun. 
“She discovered that she had a stepmother living along with her biological father and her step mom died out of a natural cause. The father found no interest in her and left her to fend on her own, Crusia took her in with open arms.”
“That’s very kind of her.”
“No need to do that. We all know how pigheaded Crusia is when it comes to her physical features. Yep, the center of attention. No one could believe she would do such a great job when it came to her maternal side—didn’t even believe she could produce one.” she chuckled.
“So she really loves her?”
She rocked her body forward than back again. “Like a mother—course Aragon took in the father role though he never saw Crusia like his mate.”
“Aragon? Aragon who?” I snapped.
Her lips became pressed shut and her eyes widened in terror. “He is a fam—friend of ours—living with them—us—in the estate.” she stuttered. “One of the additional n—”
My expression became potent. An additional? “You said the coven increased by six, Mylo, Soneya, Lucario, Nygini, Melodie, and Luxet. You never mentioned an Aragon in your list.”
“Then—well I miscounted—Aragon and his sister Nayarit have been with us the longest.”
“Wait, he has a sitter?” I halted. “What, that leaves us to eight now?”
“No… we’ve known them long before we met Mylo, we just—well never lived as one coven.”
“Did I know him?”
“Perhaps… as an infant.”
“And his sister?”
“Well why would you not mention them?” I instantly demanded. “I wanted to be completely aware of every nymph I was to meet.”
“Which is why you’ll just have to wait and see for yourself.”
The road suddenly quivered under our feet.
“Oh look, we’re home.” she pointed.
And with that glance, that was the day I would completely change my life. The house was huge, probably three times as big as my previous three story house. There were white gates at the entrance surrounded by a arch of trees that greeted the way in, fallowed by a stone driveway that circled the perimeter of the house then once around the fountain at the center to the way out. The house was unbelievable. It did seemed to have three floors, but it stretched two times my other house and surrounded something in the center it seemed.
“The house stands around the perimeter of our garden, that’s what makes it seem so huge. Not bad for what seems to be the middle of nowhere, huh?”
“I’ll say.” I murmured unthinkably.
“You like it then?” she smiled.
I nodded dazed by the sudden serenity I channeled in my surroundings. “So quiet…”
“I know, come on, we better get you inside, they’re waiting.”
“O…kay.” and she dragged me to my heals.
It seemed though, as we began to approach the house, the distance decreased and the house only seemed to be growing taller and wider. The door in particular, seemed that it could have been fashioned for an elephant to suddenly dash in.
She didn’t need to knock, although that is what I would have wanted. So she looked at me once; her smile more graceful than ever, and pushed the door open.
“Hellooooo?” she chirped anxiously.
“Saphira, oh Saph, your home.” a high pitched voice echoed from our side. “Mylo, Luxet, get your a**** over here.”
She turned her gaze to us once more; her olive green eyes looking directly at me. “And you must be Arowen, our new water siren. Pleasure meeting you madam. Name’s Melodie.”
She extended out her right hand and I immediately handed her mine. “Nice to meet you.” I said.
Not a blink later, two young males appeared from the stairway and gestured their greetings in our path.
“This is her?” the bronze one said. “She’s pretty alright.”
The other grinned and smacked him behind the head. “Watch your mouth, kid.”
He had tried to duck but failed. “Jeez bro,”
They next second they were besides Melodie.
“Boys, where are your manners now?” she teased.
The bronze one stood forward and took my hand and shook it rather harshly. “Hey there pretty lady, name’s Luxet, though you can call me Luxe—whichever you please.”
The black haired one shrugged him off and took his place. “Forgive my brother for his lack of manners.” he leaned down and kissed the top of my hand; my face blushing in embarrassment hoping this would all be a nightmare rather than a vision. “My name is Mylo at your service milady.”
That only made my voice stumble through phrases. “I uh—pleasure meeting you as well sir.” why did I say that?
He chuckled darkly. “I believe you’ve come from a long journey and desire rest milady?” he offered.
At that I broke into laughter. “Of course, if you could be so kind to carry me there.”
“As you wish.” he tugged on my hand lightly and swept me off my feet into the bed of his arms. I supposed I let my humor take control over my own consciousness and I couldn’t help but to boil my face up again, but I wouldn’t let him have his way so easily. After all, this was a game right?
 I frowned. “Just teasing, no need to get carried away here. Your lady demands you to put her down.” and I added a gesture with that.
They all began to laugh at me at that instant as Mylo set me down on my heels. 
“She really is still something.” Saphira smiled. “I told you so.”
“Yes, yes you did.” Melodie commented. She switched her gaze to mine. “Would you like anything, I’m sure your hungry, and parched.”
“Thank you, but I’m good for now.” I assumed.
Without question, Saphira snatched my hand and began puling me along the black and white marbled floor. “Come Arowen, there are others to greet.”
She took me to the right side of the house and then the stairs that led up in a spiral. It was somewhat a relief, even a human couldn’t ignore the perfection the house gave. Up along the polished banister were unbelievable hand carved ornaments of roses and leafs. At the center of each flower laid a crystal the size of a pinball.
From behind me I could hear light footsteps following up behind us, Melodie and her brothers had decided to do the greetings as well. I sighed. This would be hard enough without an extra audience.
It seemed as we had been spiraling around in circles up the Tower of Pisa, for all I knew, and the floor didn’t seem to get nearer. But with no further hesitation, we reached the second floor.
Luxet sighed afar taking the last four hundredth step. “Phew, stairs are really something aren’t they?” he looked at my direction gasping for air; over exaggerating really.
“Yes,” I muttered. “but nothing you can’t get accustomed to.”
We made a left turn then; the house changing shape, to a bit of a more nineteenth century fashion, the paintings for the majority of the part, ones that were not on the first floor, some maybe valuable; for their age.
“Saphira, where exactly are we going?” I questioned, concerned would have been a better description.
“To the second family room you could say. Crusia and the others will be waiting there, they are exited to finally meet you after only just seeing you as an infant. Might say, what a shock for them it’ll be to finally see you all grown up.” she laughed.
“Here that?” I distant voice called not five doors away from us. “Get up nymphs, she’s here.”
“Oh my,” another female voice gasped.
“Ah, here we are.” Saphira stood behind the closed door and twisted the knob gently opened and fallowed in through.
The room of course, looked not very different than the hallways. Paintings, dark furniture, and of course the classical chandeliers. Once inside the room, I saw courteously that there were four in total, two nymphets and two nymphs.
“Brothers, sisters, I would like to present to you our newest addition to the family, Arowen.”
She took me again from the hand and brought me forth.
“How very nice to meet you.” the tallest women approached and gently took my hand and shook it. By the judge of her physical character and the kindness that was illustrated, I think I had a pretty good idea of who this lady was. 
“You must be Soneyla.” I said, by the look on her face I had been correct. “Saphira has given me quite a perspective of you. It is really nice to finally meet you.”
“As to you.” she smiled lightly. “This is my mate,” she gestured over to her left. “Lucario.”
A tall young man stood forward and took my hand bowed. I blushed. “You wouldn’t perhaps the mademoiselle said to contain the most ravishing of all beauties?” he winked.
“C’est moi.” I couldn’t help but to play a role whenever opportunity called. “And you wouldn’t perhaps know the young man I am to thank for the bon voyage home, now would you?”
He chuckled darkly and rocked back on his heals. “Oui.”
Low laughter’s were heard behind us and the next acquaintance stood forth.
“Hello,” she said low and shyly, she seemed to be such little thing; so beautiful as well. Her skin looked so translucent that the redness on her face seemed to extend to a red violet shade. “My name is Nygini.” she blushed darkly when she spoke her own name.
I couldn’t help but to smile fondly at the child who seemed to be wanting to runaway from this room. I laughed lowly only through the throat and leaned down to match the height of the girl. “You must be the little girl I’ve been anxious to meet. Saphira told me you’ve been eager to meet any sort of water siren. You don’t know our kind and your curious?” I assumed.
She smiled lightly and small dimples began appearing on her rose creamy cheeks. 
“Why don’t I show a few things of what I know tomorrow afternoon, what doya say?”
She nodded quickly and her smile widened. “Really Aunt Arowen?”
My smile suddenly disappeared and I felt some thread; so warm and liquid flow down the back if my spine until it reached my stomached. So my tender smile returned to my lips. “Of course my niece.”
Saphira began chortling from behind. “She calls every other nymph by what she sees them by. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a thousand years she would begin to call us grandmas and grandpas.”
“Come on sweaty.” Soneyla crooned. “Time to play outside.” she took her lightly by the hand and then out of the door. “Excuse us.” she apologized.
I looked after her curiously. She was only a child, nothing more. How could her own father just abandon her in such a manner. I knew my father had once told me he would rather be dead than to see himself away from my sister or myself. I was nineteen already, and I could handle the loss of my father, but the girl… she never had the chance to experience what it was to be daughter, and yet, she was so small and innocent.
Somebody cleared their throat and my attention flew to the other end of the room. “I suppose you forgot me as easy as you are still gullible, eh Evee?”
I didn’t see him yet, but his voice, the name. It set my wonder running wild in my head. Yes, I had heard that name, the voice was more familiar than the name, but at the same instant I knew that name couldn’t exist without the voice that brought it to life. His voice. A dozen of them.
Time for bed Evee, want to hear a bedtime…
How about a trip down to the river, eh Evee?
The bees don’t tend to harm…
You like the water Evee, go…
Try not to get yourself…
You shouldn’t run…
Come here Evee…
Yes, they were all there one in the same. But I couldn’t  put my head around it. After all of these years how could the exact voice still exist without the slightest bit of change. It rang like bells to perfection. Like describing it only yesterday.
“Emil?” I choked out.
“That’s my girl.” he chuckled.
It became dead silence, eventuality Mylo did the honors; clearing his throat to drive the attention to himself. “I assume you both have a lot of catching up to do, brothers, sisters…” he motioned them to fallow behind him; lifting up both his index and middle finger. The room was cleared no more than two seconds later.
“Emil?” I asked again. God forbid me I had to be sure this wasn’t a lie, he had to be real. “Come Emil, come.” I repeated my childhood lines.
His grin widened and he walked to my side. This couldn’t be a dream, I would not bear if I suddenly opened my eyes and found myself in another world, one where he didn’t exist. “Emil I—”
He didn’t have to hear no more, he took my hand in desire and placed it over the side of his face.
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