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Poking her head out of the water, Syllis turned slowly to be sure that the coast was clear. This was far from home and the others would be angry if they found out but she couldn’t deny her little one such a simple wish for his birthday. Besides, a nymph such as she didn’t have much to fear from humans. Not when her first child had been a human and became a king.

On the bank grazed a few of the kelpies. Majestic water horses created just for those of the Laurel by the water god. Their coats shone in varying shades of blues and silvers, meant for blending in seamlessly with the water. It was not unusual for them to choose to graze in the human territories; they did enjoy toying with the mortals.

Moving up towards the kelpies, she paused to hold her hand back out towards the deeper part of the river. “Come sweetheart, it is safe.” When there was no stirring from the water, she shook her head with a small laugh. “I thought you wanted to see the Kelpies for your birthday. You know we don’t have a lot of time Alarn.”

Syllis couldn’t blame the hesitance of her little one as he reached out from the safety of the water. He was still so young that he did not go to the surface without a large group. He didn’t even know that they were in human territory.

His orange locks were the first thing to emerge, followed by the rest of his head. She beamed proudly down at him as he glanced around in much the same way she had done. Her little one was going to be a strong warrior for their group, she just knew it.

As it was, the Kelpies had already noticed their arrival and were inching towards the water. Syllis was glad to have gotten a herd of attention hogs; it meant that Alarn wouldn’t be disappointed today.

Letting him take his time in emerging from the water, she moved up to the bank and reached out to put her hand on the nearest Kelpie’s nose. The beast snorted and nuzzled her. Glancing over her shoulder towards her son, she laughed at the look of wonder and awe on his face. She was hoping that in seeing her petting them, his fear would melt away but it wasn’t quite going as fast as she would have liked.

Reaching up to tweak the ear of another Kelpie, she waited until that one moved closer to whisper in its ear. They were intelligent beings that understood speech but were very fickle about obeying anyone. Syllis knew how to ask and was more than pleased to see the creature prance towards Alarn.

He was so busy watching the other kelpies rough house that he didn’t notice the one that was coming towards him until the animal was towering above him. Syllis watched on as the kelpie blew air in Alarn’s face and moved to ruffle his hair with its mouth.

“Mom! He’s eating my hair!” Alarn tried to push the creature’s head away from his hair and was looking to her for assistance. She just smiled as the game turned to one of chase as her little one darted away. The kelpie chased him in the shallows, nudging him whenever it was close enough and then turning to run while Alarn chased it.

Seeing the smile and having his laughter ring out without restraint was exactly why she had wanted to do this for him. Alarn was the youngest male nymph in their group and already the restrictions that were being placed on him were killing the son she knew. Male nymphs were as much a rarity as it was for a human to live through an encounter with a kelpie.

But no one would be able to tell how deadly these creatures were as they all began to push forward for both her and Alarn’s attention. She kept directing the horses towards her son who was trying his hardest to keep them away from his hair and give them all equal attention.

“They must think you are sweet to want to nibble on you so much.” Syllis scooped him up before he was buried beneath impatient hooves and took him around to each kelpie one by one. Patting down the cowlicks that the kelpies had caused, she reached up to set him on the back of one of the smaller mares. “You must be gentle with her Alarn; she is going to have a baby of her own.”

“Kelpies can have babies too?” He sounded so genuinely confused that she didn’t want to laugh at him. There were times when she wished he didn’t have to grow up to be used as a weapon and a tool for breeding.

“Yes darling, all female creatures have a way of bearing young.” She walked to the side of the silver-blue colored mare as it indulged her son in a little ride. It was growing late as it was and she couldn’t keep him away. The others would want to throw him a birthday party and his father still wanted some time with him as well.

“Mom, how does the baby get inside the kelpie?”

“That my love, is something to ask your father.”

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Getting closer! And yes, this is Alarn from Maura’s post ‘Alarn’s Revenge’. Just at a much much younger age. Even bloodthirsty nymphs were children once too.

Next creature: Puca

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