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“I can’t do this,” says Nivin.

“You have no choice.”

Nivin cuts her eyes at M’Llare and her nighleer, Thareen, a nightmare fragment made corporal. Thareen drools poison from his many layers of teeth but is careful to keep the slather away from M’Llare and leans his maroon spiked body against her displaying his bond.

“Only your kind has ever been successful at this. Any advice?”

“You must charm the nighleer, you must be equal part of enticing and commanding. This is the only path to the secrets of the Maelrin that you need. I will give you one more moment to prepare, but then the nighleer comes.”

The silver mists thicken and Nivin waits muscles taut and senses strained. Soon, a rolling sound of wails and laughter, of incisors slicing into fleeing flesh and satisfaction flows down around her from above. She shifts her gaze upward and borne on armored wings, razor-edged and claw-tipped is a creature whose serpentine face is taut with hatred and whose tail cracks the air. As the nighleer hurls itself at Nivin she glimpses a brief moment of glee and Nivin understands this feral ferocity. The nighleer opens its mouth and white fire roars forth. Using her own power Nivin absorbs the fire and shoots back a dras stream of her own aimed just left of the creatures head. The creature dodges and shoots again, this time Nivin meets the white blaze midair and soon they are engaged in a battle of shadow and fire.  The nighleers attacks are cunning and clever and Nivin begins to truly enjoy herself. When she sees the nighleer begin to tire she slows her rate of attack and soon the nighleer begins singing again. Though the song is still haunting, it is lonely no longer.

I wish you no harm, says Nivin holding her arm out for the nighleer.

Zahe, it responds, eyes dancing.

Watching Zahe wrap her tail around her arm, Nivin wonders who exactly charmed whom.

***

Inspired by Trifecta’s word of the week:

CHARM (verb)  3: to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music)

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