Release Date: 04/29/14
Raya Sarian has always known she was
different. The water calls to her in a way
that isn't human. She has seen things that would scar anyone for life. And her father has been non existent in her childhood.
Because he is a Siren.
A blood drinker.
And now she must live with him in a world populated with enemies and dangerous friends. Can she survive the year?
It had seemed like a great idea eleven years ago, but, now, with Elder Eden staring him down like he was a disobedient child, Christopher Sarian feared that maybe it wasn’t as brilliant as he had originally thought. Her aqua eyes bore into his and he shifted in his seat, uncomfortable with the situation he had put himself in.
Her voice was silky smooth and strong, even in her old age. It also had a slight hiss to it when she was angered. That hiss seeped through in her words to Christopher. “No one will accept her here; her kind is not welcome by others. You can try to win my approval all you want, but the others will make her miserable. Is that really the best for the child?”
“She will be seventeen, you know.” In comparison to the Elder’s, his voice was small and quiet.
“I do know, Christopher, and I know that her presence would bring unrest to our already shaky colony.” Her wrinkled and dainty hands rested softly on the large oak table that was usually occupied by the Elders of the area. Now it was just her and him and the uneasy air between them.
He cleared his throat a little. He was usually so sure of himself and his power over everyone, but now he was reminded that the Elders would always be the ones in charge no matter who had the crown. But that had its upsides; they were a great source of advice and information. They hadn’t failed him yet. “I haven’t seen her for eleven years, Eden. She’ll be an adult soon and she’ll leave me behind forever. I want to see her, and claim her as my daughter, for one last time before then.”
Eden sighed and took a seat in her usual high back chair. She rubbed her temples in slow circles and then lifted her eyes to the man she had watched grow over the years. When Christopher had been crowned, she had kept a business relationship between them, calling him by his title and expecting the same back. But they were far more than that, they were family though not by blood.
“Fine. You are my Lord after all. But if anything goes awry during her time here,” she threatened.
“Everything will go perfectly, I promise.”
She pointed a firm finger at him accusingly, but a faint smile crossed her full lips. “We’ll see about that, young man!”
“Where am I going to school?” It’d be nice to get above ground and enjoy the fresh air and actual people a little every day. And she didn’t want to end up pale like the rest of the underground inhabitants who had suddenly become her neighbors.
“There’s a school room and training dojo in the west wing. The teacher is excited to meet you.”
“You’re joking, right?” Raya rolled her eyes. “I’m going to study with blood sucking freaks and then train in a dojo for…for what?” She wasn’t really sure what a dojo even looked like outside of the movies.
“Self defense is vital to survival in a Siren world. Especially for you. You’re only half siren, Raya. I need to make sure you can protect yourself.” He said this as monotone as his other words but there was an inflection of concern in the last part.
“I’m not a little girl, Christopher. Besides, I packed pepper spray. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”
He stared at her with a cold, steely gaze and Raya wanted to cower in the corner. “If a Siren wanted you dead, pepper spray would do nothing to stop him. Your guts would be spilled over the floor before it could even dream of touching him.”
With that, he turned and walked to the door to leave Raya to herself. But he paused just in the doorway and, without looking back, he said, “People will treat you…differently… when they realize what you are. Don’t give them a reason besides your blood to hate you. Do you understand?”
She nodded her head and, realizing he couldn’t see what she was doing, she added quietly, “Yes.”
“I need you to watch my daughter and protect her with your life. I have a lot on the line and I need to know that someone will keep an eye on her and keep her out of danger.”
Drew reflected on the idea and glanced to the floor, calculating what would happen if he accepted the task. “And I can’t tell her?”
Christopher shook his head. “Absolutely not. She would avoid you so as not to have someone peering over her shoulder. I know my daughter enough to know that much.”
“But you want me to get close to her, so I can watch her at all times?”
“Yes, I can’t let anyone try to…remove…her because of what she is. I need someone to get as close to her as possible without raising any red flags on her radar. And, of course, you have to keep the Secret of the Halflings. Can you do that?”
“What’ll happen if she finds out?”
“If you’re worried she’ll find out, then you’re not right for the job.”
There was no easy way to this and no upside either. Things would be difficult and confused around Raya, as if they weren’t already. But he couldn’t exactly turn down Christopher Sarian.
“I’ll do it.”
Samantha Coville is an editor and literary critic at her website, Sammy the Bookworm. She’s been writing short stories for six years and has appeared in magazines, both in print and online. When she’s not doing something book related, she is singing in her church choir or enjoying one of the theme parks in her home state of Florida.