Please read Chapter 24 here.
Chapter 25: A Soul and a Sacrifice
John watched in horror as Talise swam towards him and Jordan in the Sirene Lake. John felt incredibly weak. He had been swimming all night and his energy to remain upright and hang onto the lifesaver, was fading fast. John and Jordan watched the evil sea witch Talise, finally come to bewitch or kill John.
John knew Talise would fight Jordan for the dagger as well. He was grateful Jordan had arrived from his sail boat the Faith, with Jasper and Rianne. Jordan and Jasper had saved John from drowning, throwing out the lifesaver for him to float on. Jordan with his own lifesaver and life jacket, had swam out to aid John. Jordan had promised his older brother to drive the black dagger through Talise’s heart as John knew, he wouldn’t be able to do it himself.
John had to hold back the tears from his eyes. His eyes glazed over as he saw before him the most awful sight he had ever seen, Nina’s body floating lightly in the water as Talise rose before them in her malevolence. She had further aged, but she had fortitude behind her haggered appearance.
Added to Talise’s terrible appearance was sharp teeth which John knew had recently bitten Nina. He glanced at Nina’s shoulder. Gleaming red bite marks with blood and a black tar like substance oozed out of the marks. Talise had bit Nina and poisoned her; she had killed Nina with her vile venom.
“You have my dagger,” Talise told Jordan angerily. She attempted to swipe it from Jordan’s grasp but Jordan was quicker than Talise. He was full of energy and adrenaline. Jordan swung the dagger at Talise, marking her face with a long jagged cut. Talise screamed, a terrible moaning sound. “Enough,” she shouted, her voice gravelly and hoarse.
Pausing before them, Talise smiled in-genuinely at John. He looked into her clouded green eyes and saw not evil, but tiredness and exhaustion. The same feelings were mirrored in John’s eyes. Talise held out her withered hands in a seemingly peaceful gesture.
“I want to make a deal,” she said quietly. Talise stared at John. Jordan and John looked back and forth at each other. Could she be trusted?
“What kind of deal Talise?” John asked. “You’ve killed Nina. How can I trust you? How can I ever make any deal with you? I loath you!”
“Nina is still with us,” Talise murmered. Her voice was hoarse and small. It had no power.”If Nina doesn’t receive help soon, she’ll pass on. Right now she is only dreaming. The poison makes victims lethargic before they die.” Talise explained.
“What kind of deal?” Jordan demanded again. Talise frowned at him, touching the cut on her cheek. It was bleeding down the side of her face grotesquely.
Talise reached her hand out towards the black dagger chanting words under her breathe. A large stone floated out from the dagger, pausing in mid air in front of Talise. She manipulated the stone with her magic until it became a clear globe, appearing as if it were made of gleaming Crystal. The globe held a stunning emerald green light. The light was fluid, vivid and iridescent.
Talise sighed staring at Nina and then at John. She looked at Jordan and was about to speak when a giant tear dropped from her eye, landing in the Sirene. John and Jordan were surprised but suspicious.
“Get this over with Talise. You have Nina, now take me,” John said not caring for his life, now that he believed Nina would not be in it. Talise was lying as she usually did, John thought.
Talise gave John a half-smile. It did not hold the malice her most recent smiles had lately. John thought Talise’s smile was almost a sign of her attempting to fix the damage she caused. But he did not trust her, not for one minute.
” I have a deal to make with both of you. One deal for Jordan and deal for John.” Talise said with purpose. She turned towards John in the water.
“John, Nina is dying. I told her you could never break the curse. The truth is, I don’t know if you can. That magic is beyond me or what knowledge my Grandmother or the dark sea witch I stole this dagger from had. You can sacrifice yourself for Nina, I have no known antidote for the poison. I don’t know if you’ll survive. Even sea witches know little about death and resurrection.” Talise admitted to John soberly.
She peered at John through her muddied-eyes, appearing as if she was genuinely offering John a reasonable solution.”What is your answer John? You need to hurry and decide. Nina is leaving this life quickly. The poison is a powerful magic of it’s own. I cannot make any deal with you after I have made a deal with Jordan for the dagger.”
“Yes,” John said no hesitation. “I would freely sacrifice my life for Nina’s life.” Jordan looked at John in shock.
“There has to be some other way John. You can’t . . .you can’t leave your family for Nina. You could meet someone else someday. There is so much left for you in life yet . . . ” Jordan said begging John to reconsider.
John shook his head at Jordan, reaching up to grasp his brother’s upper arm. “This isn’t the end necessarily, Jordan. It’s always been my fate to sacrifice myself for the woman I love. You know this. It’s the only way to break the curse. I’m tired of being cursed Jordan. I never should have lied to you about my feelings for Talise all those years-ago.”
Jordan tried to say more but looking at John he knew his older brother’s decision was final.
John gazed up at Talise. “Please, Talise. Uncurse me. Break the spell. My life for Nina’s life. I have to say, I never thought you’d let me out of your curse.”
Talise looked at John waspishly. “It’s not so much I’m letting you free. As I told you, I don’t know how this works. I know only you are making the sacrifice required with real love behind the sacrifice. A curse is magic beyond me, beyond any witch once it is cast.” Talise chastised.
“It’s not that I want to save you or Nina, or not save you both. It’s more something Nina said. Maybe, I can start again? Maybe, there is a way out for me? A path out of this darkness I’ve cast myself into, becoming evil.” Talise shook her head. “I don’t know . . .” She stared at the lusterous emerald globe floating before her, before closing her eyes.
Talise began chanting archaic words. She put her arms in the air and drew the seawater to her. It formed a upside down dome around them, frothing, and rising. Nina’s body, nearly dead, rose into the whirls of water. The pink flush of the sky in sunrise, formed above them. The words Talise said brought John towards her. Raising him up in the water and sky as she chanted.
“Curse be undone. Price has been paid. Sacrifice has been given, sins atoned.” Talise yelled in her throaty dark voice now powerful and echoing across the Sirene Lake.
John felt the power of Talise’s words running through him. Then, he saw Nina’s eyes opening across from him as they both floated in mid-air with water surrounding them. Nina reached out to John and they clasped hands. John smiled at Nina.
“We’re doing it, we’re breaking my curse. Thank you Nina. I love you.” John told Nina. He gazed at her, drinking in the sight of Nina breathing, appearing healthy, and enchanting.
John memorized Nina’s beautiful pale blue-eyes, her soft creamy skin, her white blond hair, so blond even plastered wet to her head. “John?” Nina asked him. “You’re here. You’re alright. I was in this place, it was so beautiful with so many colours. I was sleeping and I’ve never felt so fantastic after I’ve slept. It was if I never felt any pain, as if everything was perfect. Except you . . . I had to come back for you.”
Nina sighed happily and smiled at John as they floated and Talise continued to chant archaic words. “I’ll miss you,” John murmered to Nina. His fatigued sapphire eyes were closing and he felt a peaceful sleepiness similar to the feeling Nina had told him about. Lethargy overwhelmed John’s body.”So many glorious colours, Nina.” John said in a sigh. He gazed at Nina one last time before closing his sapphire eyes and letting sleep take him into bright wondrous colours.
Nina blinked. She found herself hanging onto John’s lifesaver in the Sirene. Jordan was next to her holding Talise’s dagger hanging onto his own flotation device. Jordan was staring angerily at Talise who swam in front of them. Jordan was ready to thrust the dagger through Talise’s heart.
“Where’s John?” Nina asked Jordan confused. “I was sleeping after Talise bit me, then I saw John and he said his curse was broken. But where is he? Did he die as Talise said he would?” Jordan looked at Nina sadly. He didn’t have to say a word. From Jordan’s expression, Nina knew John had sacrificed himself for her.
Nina began to cry in earnest, then she noticed the beautiful glowing emerald ball floating mid-air and in front of the sorry figure of Talise. Something strange had happened to Talise. She no longer looked wrinkled, aged, and terrifying. She didn’t have her pointy teeth. She appeared to be only a little older then Nina. Her arm where Nina had dug her fingernails in was bleeding profusely and so was a deep cut on her face.
Talised looked at Nina with her slightly glazed, emerald green eyes. She looked to be wearing a lusterous green bikini but in the water Nina could actually see a matching fish tail. “You’re a mermaid.” Nina said. “I never saw your tail before, the waves and water hid it well. What happened Talise? Why are you young again? Where’s John?”
“I broke the curse Nina,” Talise whispered. “I’m extremely weak and have little of my magic left. I need to do one more thing. I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything for John. I tried. I told him before he sacrificed his life for you, curses once made are a magic beyond any witch. I didn’t know if he would die when I told you earlier he would. I’m not sure he is dead . . . I don’t know what happened to him. He’s not here anymore, that’s all I know.” Talise drooped in the water exhausted.
She raised a finger towards the glowing green ball in front of her. “Jordan, you and I have a deal to make. One last exchange. This glowing orb is my soul. It’s yours for the dagger.”
“What are you going to do with this dagger Talise?” Jordan asked. He was shaking he was so angry at Talise for John’s death.
Talise opened her mouth and smiled at him. The smile was a funny smile. One Nina had never seen on Talise before. “Here my soul, take it Jordan.”
The transparent globe hovered over to Jordan. He put the dagger in his hand grasping the lifesaver and reached for the globe. It sealed itself on his Jordan’s hand, forming a silver ring with a beautiful emerald, on Jordan’s middle finger. The emerald was priceless and as the light of sunshine touched it, Nina saw something liquid move beneath the emerald stone. She thought the liquid must actually be Talise’s soul. Jordan was in awe of the ring.
“What does this mean Talise?” Jordan spat out. He gazed back to John’s sailing boat and waved to Jasper and Rianne on board. They were anxiously watching Nina, Jordan, and Talise. They couldn’t tell everything that was going on. Jordan wouldn’t let Jasper come out to help them because he had Sam and Eric to think about. Jasper had refused to let Rianne come out, Talise had already broken her arm.
Talise sighed, her body beginning to float more than stay upright in the water. She didn’t answer Jordan. Jordan didn’t trust Talise and Nina knew it. She was going to tell him that the situation was fine. To let Talise go, but she was too late.
Jordan used the lifesaver to bounce off of and lunged at Talise. He grabbed her head by her wavy blond hair piercing her clear emerald eyes with his electric blue; he thought the emerald on his hand was the same colour as Talise’s striking eyes.
“Don’t Jordan . ..” Nina cried out. “It’s okay, she isn’t a threat anymore. She . . .”
John raised the dagger above Talise who gasped even in her weakness.” Do it,” she told Jordan. He gazed at her now beautiful face and torso, struck by her loveliness, her natural beauty. “Do it Jordan. Avenge John. End this. Don’t look at my beauty, it’s how John fell for me. Sea witches we’re both light and dark magic and they’re will always be darkness in me . . .” Talise regarded Jordan and waited for the dagger to strike.
With all his anger and loathing, Jordan raised the dagger and plunged it through Talise’s heart. She screamed in pain and writhed as the dagger went through her chest. ” Thank you for the trade, Jordan.” Talise whispered so quietly Nina could barely hear her speak.
Jordan regarded the dagger sticking out of Talise’s lifeless body. Blood poured out from her wound into the waters of the Sirene. A fixed half-smile was on Talise’s lifeless face. Jordan closed her bright emerald eyes and pulled the dagger from her body.
The dagger had transformed, it was no longer a black instrument of wicked magic. It had turned a shiney silver. A lapis luzila trail of stones were inlayed in the hilt of the dagger and ancient symbols were etched in the blade of the dagger.
“It’s not evil anymore,” Nina shouted surprised. She shocked herself with the strength of her own voice. “Talise wasn’t either but she wanted you to kill her because she wanted to atone. She gave you her soul Jordan. I’m not sure why exactly but she saw something in you. . .” Nina remarked.
Nina glanced at herself. She had no bruises or bite marks. She was full of energy and life. Then she remembered John was probably dead. Was he really? She wondered. Talise said there was power in a curse beyond the witch. Maybe somehow John was alive?
“Do you think John is alive somewhere?” Nina asked Jordan bluntly. He looked at her briefly. Jordan was staring at emerald ring on his hand. He tried to remove it, but it wouldn’t come off. Jordan let his breathe out through his teeth and shook his head at Nina. She swore he wiped a tear from the edge of his dark blue eye.
They both stared at the body of Talise. A beautiful mermaid sea witch, who had passed on, after becoming and overcoming great evil within her.
“She had a long life at least,” Nina remarked. “In the end, she made the right choice. It took her a long time to do it, but she did do it.” Nina rambled convinced Talise was redeemable. Jordan was so angry still and Nina grabbed Jordan’s hand with the ring on it, holding the dagger.
“I told Talise she could get her soul back, that she had hope. She said it was too late for her. Maybe, in the end she wanted a clear conscience facing death. I think she thought their may have been hope for to live a normal life.” Nina remarked.
“She’s an evil bitch. I don’t care how pretty she looked before I stabbed her. She had it coming for everything she has done. She is responsible for all the agony John experienced through his curse, everything my family went through. Talise gave you a concussion and almost killed you with her poisonous venom. She cursed John and so is responsible for his death, for him trading his life for yours. I can never get my brother back Nina. How do I explain this to Mom and Dad? How do I tell Jasper and Rianne?”
“I think you should wait a while first,” Nina said. She didn’t know why she said it, but she felt something on the edges of her mind.
“Why?” Jordan spit out.
“I have a feeling . . .I can’t explain.” Nina remarked.
Jordan and Nina watched Talise’s body flow away from them, both of them breathing the freshness and warmth of the morning air. In a sudden movement, the sea bubbled around Talise’s corpse and took it down underwater, into the Sirene’s heart; it was Talise’s burial.
Nina realized Jasper was towing her in on the lifesaver. A half an hour or so later, Jasper and Nina were huddled together on John’s sail boat, recounting the events of the night and morning, to Rianne and Jasper. They were both stunned by Jordan and Nina’s shortened explanations. There were somethings neither Jordan or Nina wanted to talk about yet.
Nina knew she should be crying but all she felt was numb. She hung onto a possibility. It was all she had.
Please Read Chapter 26 here.
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