I’ve talked about my father’s love of Greek mythology before, (Melissa was the name of a nymph who nursed an infant Zeus), and my interest in sirens probably stems from his own fascination (I’m lucky he wasn’t a sailor!).
Sirens are often confused with harpies because they are both hybrids; combining women and birds. I’m sure you’re familiar with the legends about these beautiful creatures luring sailors with their enchanting voices. They were said to be handmaidens of the goddess Persephone (Demeter’s daughter), and when Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter gave the sirens wings to aid in the search – or at least that’s one of the tales.
As their appearance in media is limited, I decided to follow a similar format to the Imp post, and share with you a preview from my upcoming fantasy story, The Contract. Sirens will play a big part in the series, and the serialised offshoot of the novels – The Collective. So, here’s a taste:
As a little background, the sirens referred to in this snippet are twins. They form part of Tobias Locke’s Guard (the Hympe King). Tobias is in trouble and has asked Maddison (a freelance hunter) for help. They have agreed to meet on familiar ground.
Sneak Preview – The Contract
Tobias followed his guards through the portal, his senses on full alert. The twins had already scouted the area, a necessary precaution even if the meeting spot did border his land. He accepted their need to protect, yet their obvious concern was starting to grate along his nerves.
“She’s here,” Rheia said, eyes narrowed on a patch of trees.
“Of course she is.” Maddison was always on time. “I think I can take it from here,” he told them.
Obeying the subtle command, the twins changed shape and took to the air, their wings glinting under the afternoon sun.
He watched them for a moment, admiring their exquisite grace, before he walked across the clearing. He stopped when he saw Maddison. She was half-way through a familiar warm-up routine. It shouldn’t have pleased him to discover she was still angry, but it did. He could see the tension in every line of her body, knew she would not welcome such thoughts. Yesterday, when he’d sought her out, he’d expected a fight and had relished the idea. She had accepted the assignment far too easily, even without the punishing lip-lock. Maddison never mixed business with pleasure. But then, right now, everything about her was business – right down to her kick-ass boots.
He was playing with fire, seeking her involvement. She was dangerous, at least to him, because she made him long for the impossible. He was a king, and when he took a bride he would be condemning her to a life of sacrifice. He wouldn’t, couldn’t, do that to Maddison.
“When you’re through with the peep show, how about you come spar with me for a while?” she asked without turning.
The witch has eyes in the back of her head.
He crossed the field, appreciating the fact she came prepared. Her uniform was custom made, though it surprised him to realise she had accessorised with a number of blades. The twin machetes strapped to her back were familiar, but the holstered daggers on her thighs were new to the party. They were overkill, in his opinion. Maddison was tall and lithe, and exuded danger like a carefully applied camouflage.
Her dark, midnight blue hair was pulled back in a long plait that hung down her back. It was adorned with harmless looking jewellery, but Tobias knew that was an illusion.
“I see you brought the man-eaters,” she said, looking up into the sky.
He didn’t need to follow her gaze to the siren twins circling above, he could feel them. As part of his guard they were connected by blood.
“You know they hate it when you call them that.” He also knew she meant no offense. “Besides, the curse was lifted eons ago, now it’s more about the pleasure.”
She laughed, eyes still on the sky as she watched the twins. They resembled large, fierce birds of prey, as beautiful as the eagle and just as deadly. “So I’ve heard.”
Finally, her gaze dropped to his, and he saw her intent swirling in a sea of green. They circled each other, eyes locked, until she made her move.
He felt the jolt of magic like a fist to the side of his jaw. A silken snake wound its way around his neck and squeezed tight, blocking the airway.
By the Gods, she was beautiful, he thought, staring into eyes that became a filter to her power. It shone with a vibrant glow, making her appear almost feral.
“The next time you put your hands on me, I’ll put you in the ground,” Maddison said in a husky, sensual tone, which had his eyes flashing. She was still pissed, all right.
“If you think you can take me, witch, be my guest,” he challenged, manipulating the branches of a nearby tree into doing his bidding.
He had the power to control any living organism, with a few exceptions. Maddison was one of them; her mind was too strong to manipulate.
“Tempting, half-blood, but we have a job to do.”
She used the term half-blood to annoy him, and it would have worked, if she’d put any effort into it. But she didn’t really consider him a lesser being, so he accepted the jibe. Anyone else he would have crushed.
His father was king before he’d renounced his title and married a mortal woman. They had conceived Tobias before the ritual, making him heir to the throne. Now he ruled, and he allowed few to challenge his authority.
“I’m not the one who lost control,” he reminded her, stretching his neck.
With a muted curse, she released him. The silken strand whipped back towards her and coiled into the long braid she wore. It was powerful magic, a fact which made her more than a witch.
I hope you enjoyed the snippet. I had so much fun with the sirens, and I think my Dad would have liked them. But now it’s over to you. Do you know of any sirens portrayed in media that you would like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these beautiful (and sometimes deadly) creatures.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.