[Warning: Distinct lack of any canon characters in evidence.
[Timeframe: a few days after the climax of 'She Talks To Rainbows'.]
"Hey, Nyss," Xeffy said. "You haven't met our friends, have you?"
Nyssaias considered this. "Well, I've met your lunchtime crew... but that's not
who you're talking about, is it?"
"Nope." Xeffy said.
"Then no, I haven't."
Xeffy and Ayna shared a quick grin.
"In that case," Xeffy said, "there's a couple of people we'd like you to
"Nyssaias." Nyssaias said.
"Kwenella." Kwen said. "Everyone calls me Kwen."
Nyssaias couldn't take her eyes off the other girl's face. She'd never seen a
Gorgon's uncovered face - well, no-one had, at least no-one who wasn't
petrified - but Kwen's was close enough that it made you wonder why you weren't
Well, apart from her purple skin, anyway.
"I'm the resident gadget geek around here." Kwen went on. "This" - she indicated
a girl who, to all intents and purposes, appeared to have a squid-head, complete
with tentacles - "is Molly, our walking library."
"Hello." Nyssaias said politely.
"Hello." Molly said. "Query: may I ask you what may be a personal question?"
"...Okay." Nyssaias said.
"Thank you. Query: you are a Light Muse, yes?"
"...Yes." Nyssaias said.
"Fact confirmed." Molly said. "Ayna and Xeffy have told us a number of facts
"Translation: they can't stop talking about you." Kwen said wryly. "Seems like
you've made a big impression."
Nyssaias blinked, glanced over at Xeffy and Ayna, then back at Kwen. "I have?"
"Mm-hm. And getting something through to _those_ two's pretty tough, believe me.
You wouldn't _believe_ what it takes to pound something into their heads
"Thanks, Kwen..." Ayna said dryly.
"No problem." Kwen replied.
"A three-track mind?" Nyssaias inquired.
"_Oh_ yeah." Kwen said. "Food..."
"...Boys..." Nyssaias said.
"And music." they finished together.
Kwen grinned at the expression on Xeffy and Ayna's faces. "Face it, guys. You're
getting a reputation."
"I can think of worse..." Ayna said with a certain wry humour, before realising
how what she'd just said could be taken. "Um... sorry, Nyss."
Nyssaias shook her head. "It's alright, Ayna."
"...Query." Molly said tentatively. "You are friends with Embericles?"
Nyssaias nodded. "Yes."
"...Ah." Kwen said. "So what happened with Kali...?"
"If you've heard it from Ayna or Xeffy, it's probably true." Nyssaias said.
Molly winced. "Confirmation. The school rumour mill is _not_ the best source of
"Like the one about the demon horde that chased Kali's gang down and dragged
their souls to Hell." Kwen observed. "_That_ was surreal. Especially hearing it
"Yes." Nyssaias said solemnly. "I can understand why she'd think that."
"She can..." Kwen said carefully.
Nyssaias nodded. "Yes. Embericles is a Dark Muse - it's her power. Inspiring
"And I'm a Light Muse - inspiring light. Counterparts. Opposite halves. Light
needs darkness... as darkness does light."
Ayna and Xeffy shared an unspoken look which seemed to communicate far more than
"And you met in the middle." Kwen said.
"You... _might_ say that." Nyssaias said, picking her words carefully. "More,
rather... we met in understanding. Understanding what the other was... and what
was being offered."
Again, that shared look flashed between Ayna and Xeffy.
Kwen eyed them. "That sort of thing's more common round here than you'd think."
"Hm?" Nyssaias wondered.
"Counterparts. Opposites. Yin and yang. Seems to be a running thing round here."
"It does?" Nyssaias asked, curious.
Ayna and Xeffy shot Kwen nervous looks.
"Yep. Maybe not on the level of light and darkness, but it still keeps turning
up - well, around us, anyway. Keep an eye out sometime."
"Thank you." Nyssaias said, a little baffled by that. Maybe it was just because
she hadn't been around that long.
Kwen chuckled. "Kinda high-weirdness round here, anyway. Kinda like home,
"Where're you from?" Nyssaias asked.
"RPG-side." Kwen explained. "Role-playing game side. 'Teenagers From Outer
Nyssaias frowned. "That's a role-playing game?"
"_Oh_ yeah. Anime comedy game. Aliens go to Earth high school. Weirdness
happens." Kwen chuckled. "_Just_ like home."
Nyssaias's frown grew deeper. Something didn't make sense here... "But why come
Kwen shrugged. "I thought the shopping was cheaper."
Nyssaias blinked again, before deciding she had no clue whether or not Kwen was
serious. "I'm from the City of Dreams - it's where most of the celestial
bureaucracy's based." She hesitated a moment. "It's not like here, though...
well, not the parts I knew. It _might_ be like this elsewhere, I don't know."
Molly tipped her head on one side. "Query: you still feel new here?"
"It happens to all of us." Kwen said, with some sympathy. "All of us were new
here once. Molly's the only one who was born here."
Nyssaias blinked, and turned to Ayna and Xeffy. She'd never thought the two of
them _hadn't_ started out here - they'd seemed to fit straight in. Which was,
she had to admit to herself, an unfounded assumption, even if an understandable
one. "Where were you from?"
"Subreality." Xeffy explained. "Our sister Allie got a job here, and we kinda
moved to be with her."
"A permanent one?" Nyssaias asked, suddenly worried. Having her first friends
here move anytime soon would be an unpleasant surprise.
Xeffy waved it off. "Yeah, pretty much. We're here for the long haul."
Nyssaias let out a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding. "That's a
relief. What does she do?"
Xeffy and Ayna blinked at her.
"Didn't we tell you?" Ayna said.
Nyssaias searched her memory, but came up empty. "Sorry. If you did, it slipped
"Allie's a Muse."
"Allie's a..." Nyssaias repeated. "You're Divinities."
Ayna and Xeffy blinked in unison.
"...Didn't we say?" Ayna said. "We're Sirens."
"..._What?_" Nyssaias said.
The twins looked decidedly worried.
"Sirens." Xeffy said. "I'm sure we mentioned it."
"...How?" Nyssaias asked. "The Sirens are dead." If there was one thing the
Divinities knew of the Sirens, it was that they were dead - _had_ died, a long
time ago, outmatched by Orpheus. No Siren had ever been born since, anywhere.
...Anywhere they'd /known/, a little voice inside corrected.
Xeffy shuddered. "They weren't. Believe me on this, Nyss, they _weren't_.
"I met them."
A jagged edge, Nyssaias realised, looking at her friends' faces. Sharp, cutting
edges. Edges that hurt. She'd asked a question too far, opened an edge to the
light... and now she had to face it.
As she'd faced Embericles, reached out to her.
And knowing that, she drew some measure of strength from it, and faced her
"It's our gift." Ayna said quietly. "Our family's gift. We all end up with a
"We're the Sirens. The first born Outside since the originals left."
Nyssaias had to know, had to see this through. "And the originals?"
"Gone." Xeffy said. "Where, we don't know. Just... gone. Beyond Divinity or
mortal." She suddenly seemed much older, old beyond her years.
Nyssaias blinked... then started giggling.
The others stared at her as if she'd gone out of her mind.
"That... that means you're the only ones, right?" Nyssaias managed to say
through the giggles. She didn't know _why_ the idea she'd had seemed so funny to
her, but the truth was that it _was_.
"Er... Well, we hope." Xeffy said. "Outside, anyway."
"Don't you get it?" Nyssaias managed to get out. "If that's the case, _you're_
the Guild! _You're_ the Sirens' Guild!"
Ayna, Xeffy, Kwen and Molly _gawked_.
"..._We're_ the Guild?!" Xeffy said. "Nope. No way. Can't be right. Gotta be
other Sirens somewhere."
"But there aren't any!" Nyssaias said. "If we know anything about the Sirens, we
know _that_ much, at least. No-one knows of any surviving Sirens - we'll have to
check that sometime, but I _think_ that's the case... Unless they went
"...Query: what does this mean?" Molly asked.
"Oh, that's simple." Nyssaias explained. "They get to decide what the Sirens do.
What their jobs are. Where they go. They're the voice of the Sirens among the
"...Do we _look_ like we could run a Guild?" Xeffy demanded. "We're _kids!_"
"That's not the way it works." Nyssaias said. "Once you hit majority, _that's_
when you become the Guild."
Ayna crossed her arms, sticking her jaw out. "Nope. No way. Xeph and me are
_not_ running a Guild."
"You may have to." Nyssaias said. "Do you realise what this _means?_"
"You've gone out of your mind?" Xeffy suggested.
"Maybe..." Nyssaias said, still grinning. "But apart from that, it means we have
a chance to see a Guild come into being. Watch it develop right from its
inception. There are Divine sociologists who'd give their _wings_ for this
Molly perked up. "Fact: this will be an excellent opportunity to monitor the
creation and development of a Divine Guild. I am proud to have been present at
"Yep," Kwen said, grinning. "Just like home."
"You're all nuts." Xeffy said calmly. "Just so you know."
"Of course we do." Nyssaias grinned. "Ma'am."
"Nuts." Xeffy said. "Insane. Utterly, completely, round the bend. Right, Ai?"
Ayna nodded. "You've all lost it."
"As you wish." Kwen dipped a curtsey. "Miladies."
Xeffy and Ayna _stared_ at their friends, who were grinning their heads off.
"...Somehow, I get the feeling we're not getting through to them..." Xeffy said
Ayna raised an eyebrow. "What gave it away?"
Disclaimer: The Grel are Paul Cornell's, Nyssaias is BKWillis's, and the others
It should be noted that the comments on Sirens and their Guild apply
specifically to Outside - Otherside, as Ayna knows full well, is another
Summary: Friends don't let friends meet friends. Not least for the embarrassment
Copyright 2003 Imran Inayat