*Featuring characters from "A Spirit Set on Revenge" and "Escaping the Fool Virus"
Kalena sips at her sweet drink. The mix of fruit and rum tingled on her tongue. "You know I could get used to this." Being on this island with Je had softened her a bit. She was still entirely dedicated to her vengeance, but it was nice to put on a bikini, stretch out a chair, and watch the waves with Je lounging next to her.
"I'm so pleased you agreed to come away with me," Je says as he leans over to toast her.
She clicks her glass against his. "I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be. It is nice having a vacation for a change. No beheading, punishing, or vengeance. Just us."
"I never thought I would enjoy peaceful times this much," Je says, gazing at her lovingly.
Kalena grins and leans forward to kiss him softly. "You are very sweet for a vengeful spirit."
"Only to the goddess of vengeance who has captured my heart," he replies, stroking her cheek and kissing her deeply.
The tide slips away as if it has been summoned by a greater force. Beneath the waves, a great struggle is taking place. Aayan, the only son of the water god Soiyf, has escaped the great palace to make a desperate bid for the surface.
"I love the feel of the sun. I never thought I would after so long under the water. After a time, I simply just became one with the waves, the water. Endless. But there was a whole city the gods created." Kalena turns to face him better. "But we can talk about other things."
"It's a rare occasion that you speak of the gods," Je comments, sipping his drink. "If you wish to talk, I am happy to listen."
"I've served them so long that it's just.... nice to think for myself for a change." Kalena sits up and looks at him. "Sometimes I think about never fulfilling my mission."
Je searches her eyes, the slightest yearning in his chest. "What would you do if you abandoned it?" He asks softly.
Before she can answer, the tide roars back in. A young man, fit and naked, strides after it. Aayan is giddy with the feel of sand between his toes. "I did it!" He crows.
At first, she thought it was a college student skinny dipping - she's seen that a time or two - until she realizes ... "Aayan!" Kalena hurries off the chair and down the beach. "What - How did you get here?"
"Mom!" Aayan jogs to meet her. "Did you have any idea dad was insane?" He demands. "Because he's totally insane."
"I did, actually." Kalena pushes back some of her son's wet hair. She turns when Je approaches with a beach towel. "Thanks." She wraps the towel around her son's shoulder, thankful that it's big enough to cover down to his knees. "Je... this is my son, Aayan."
"It is an unexpected pleasure to meet you," Je says, dipping his head in greeting.
"Hi." Aayan takes his mom by the elbows. "He locked me up, mom. Locked. Me. Up."
"He did what?" Kalena snaps. "That... He would try that as soon as I wasn't around to get in his way. I could stab him with a Triton right and now."
"I tried that," Aayan says. "Almost got him, too. Thing is, tritons aren't my weapons, apparently."
"No... they never were... you nearly took the servant's head off with one when you were five." Kalena strokes a strand of his damp hair. "What excuse did he use?"
Aayan leans into his mom's touch. "That I was his heir and had to be kept safe."
Je isn't sure what to do or say, but it feels awkward just standing there saying nothing, so he goes back to the chairs and prepares another drink to offer Aayan.
"Oh, please." Kalena huffs. "You'll just stay with us. Your father may be a water god, but he can't touch this land. And if he did, he knows I would kill him." She turns to Je to find him gone. She frowns and puts an arm around her son's shoulders.
"I would have come sooner, but again, dad's crazy." Aayan watches his mom frown. "I kind of interrupted something, huh?"
"You never could interrupt. Je is also a vengeful spirit who was wronged long ago. We've bonded." She hugs his shoulders. She remembers the days when she didn't have to reach up so far to do so. "You will like him."
"I'll give him a chance," Aayan promises.
"Sorry for the delay," Je calls, returning with the freshly made drink. "I do not know your tastes, so I made it like Kalena's."
"That's fine." Aayan grins. "Just got on land, and I have a new drink."
"Just don't get too carried away with that." Kalena guides her son up to where they're sitting. "We have a friend who has offered us refuge, so I'm sure she'll allow you a place too."
"I thought you didn't like people," Aayan teases.
Je chuckles and fetches their drinks.
"She's not technically a person. She was a princess here on this island centuries ago but was cursed forever to be here, trapped. She turned her curse into a weapon and took control of this island. Communicates with the animals. She has become a true friend to us." Kalena squeezes Je's arm. "Perhaps we shall get Aayan some clothes first?"
Je smiles and kisses her cheek as he presses her glass into her hand.
"Clothes?" Aayan glances at himself. "Right, no tail."
"And people don't go nude here anymore." She nods assuredly and takes her drink. "I hear it's even a crime in some places. Iolana says so anyway." Kalena guides her son forward.
Aayan shudders. "If I never see a jailer again, it will be too soon."
"Don't worry," Je says. "We won't let anyone keep you against your will."
"You can trust Je on that. He's very good at what he does. Tell me, is your father giving your siblings any trouble?" Kalena was already calculating ways to end him.
"The youngest get to float around doing whatever they want," Aayan says. "And yes, I am jealous." He sips the drink. "Not bad."
"Pace yourself." Kalena gathers up her shoes and her sunglasses to put into her bag. "You ready, my son?"
"Sure." Aayan stretches, and the towel falls. He picks it up and ties it awkwardly about his waist. "Let's get some clothes?"
"We know just the place." Kalena takes her son's arm and guides him from the beach.