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ATOM: Interlude I – Dal’coler

Leira entered through the hall of the throne room of Dal’coler. Her limbs were supple but less ethereal than of those she was surrounded by, she looked just like that – a human, by mere comparison less graceful. This was making her stand among them like a sore splinter in the bleeding eye. Yet, her hair gleamed in an unearthly way and her forehead was adorned with a pair of sharp horns. After her a long thin tail, elegant in its misplaced beauty.

Knowing well she has the right to be here – in contradiction to other humans and even fairies – she slipped through the crowd like a knife through butter, aiming for the throne on the other side of the vast room, where two High Fae talked with Lorian Ain’Dal. The other fae, still waiting to speak with him, started to acknowledge her… and her unnatural law to go before the line.

The chamber – lit only by floating lights, shining with a warm pulsating gleam, drifting among the gathered fairies – was drowning in dim, only partially illuminated darkness. Night was fey’s element, like the cold winter, stunning in her unlight, just like them. Swallowing the innocence and drowning all in the shadows.

The shadows, though… were ruled only by him.

Lorian was sitting on the throne, casual, relaxed, beautiful like a fallen star. He looked focused on his company, but she knew his attention spreads wider. He was taking the whole gathering in, seeking. Sensing.

And she was his servant, his most inspiring one, as he claimed. He had countless servants, but only one human one. Her. All of the other humans who he owned were slaves. They were all his property.

The insistent voice in her head sometimes was telling her, that she is his property too, only called differently.

Treated differently.

But still a property.

She was inspiring one. But if she was to believe Lorian Ain’Dal in everything what he told her, a hidden meaning behind deceptive words, a false hope, a delicious promise, she would never gain her position in his palace. She would not exist anymore. One thing which she learned in the fae realm, was that its inhabitants weren’t bound by any limits, and their emotions were as alien as distant stars. They weren’t restrained by anything.

And they liked to play with humans like with living toys.

They loved to feed on human fear, pulling it straight from the mortal hearts and tread it on a spool of their eternal thirst.

And she was one of them now. By body, a human; a fairy by soul.

Admitting it took her countless hard years, and was harder for her to swallow than a meal made of iron and copper. Years filled with sadness and doubt.

Lorian seemed to not see her, talking with the two visibly distraught fey, but she felt his mind, as it slipped deep into hers. It spread her thoughts in a not exactly unpleasant way, a soft caress inside her, an intrusion, yes, but she always was allowing him in, opening her mind before him.

She knew he would enter it even if she didn’t, anyway.

Leira heard him in her thoughts; or rather felt him, like he entered her body and became one with her – in much less obvious way.

“So… Avel sent you instead of arriving herself.” he mused in her mind, playful vibrations spread in her head. “I know you think about the same, Leira. The court awaits her. I await her.”

“She wanted to have the time to clean after journey, my lord. She met the horrkas” she thought. Her heart was beating fast, as always when Lorian entered her mind, knowing he was able to read all of her thoughts… even those she would never atriculate.

“Avel knows my priorities quite deeply. Her bath is not among them. She is a huntress. Sent to hunt and bring the prey. Blood of a prey on her face is nothing she should be worried about. It could be in fact quite… intriguing.”

She knew how the fey hunt.

She still remembered Lorian’s cruelty seen for the first time, like taken from a grotesque nightmare. His hidden side which couldn’t be quenched and which boiled all the time under his composed behavior.

“Tell Lady Avel that I am truly patient. I truly am, enjoying her attention to court protocol. And that I love to wait” under Lorian’s amused tone, a silent threat, but not aimed at her. She felt as the intensity of his presence in her head started to diminish. Lorian knew how his power influenced minds he read or explored. But he was doing it casually, lightly, like he read a book. When he withdrew, she felt silent emptiness, until her mind got used to the lack of him.

His gaze dragged her in, sparks dancing in his completely black eyes, sparks and stars, in which it was so easy to lose but not possible to break from their spell. He smiled, only slightly moving his eyes off the still awaiting fae, to lay them on her, teasing her from the distance. His smile was beautiful, yet she knew that this beauty held danger, even more deadly, when there was no sign of it.

There was something tempting in it. And in the way the other fae looked at her, with scorn. She was not what they thought she was. She was not the king’s innocent human. She was a silent servant of the crown, a useful one. Gleaming. Knowing their secrets. A spy no one took seriously. A faint life, not worthy of a second gaze.

She spied for him, did many things for him, which would have scared her, long ago. She feared him so much back then, she hated him not less. He clawed her from her old life, killed her past and took her into darkness. But this hatred, this fear, joined into something that was neither obvious nor unwanted.

No one suspected her. No one ever saw anything other than a slave in her. While, suddenly, one day, she became a part of his court, well hidden under his amassing shadows, sewn into his reality – into her own reality – with threads made of open veins. And roots. And vines.

A woman with raven wings passed her, her face hidden behind a black bird mask, her eyes big and blue and piercing, almost unnaturally round. Leira caught her gaze, a bit surprised, a bit angry… a lot hating. She knew that Nymre, Lorian’s lover, never was fond of her. Leira didn’t have to ask why.

Leaving, she heard and saw how Nymre laughs, a dark, beautiful sound. Lorian dragging her closer, so close. She felt as his deep enchantment followed her, when he let his power come to the surface. The other fae’s eyes followed Leira as well, glittering, like white and green and blue suns.

Her steps soon rang in the vast corridor, the columns around her looming over her, the high arches over her head hiding horrid paintings, high in the shadows. Dal’coler was monumental and enormous, older than winter. Older than autumn. Even older than summer. Lingering and rooting in the first spring.

Her situation was not normal. But she didn’t want to be the fearing child she was before. She was instead leaning into the embrace of reality which she fought for herself.

The stained-glass windows which she was passing reflected her pale face in their bloodthirsty sceneries from the fae past and literature. Blood dripped off her features. A warning.

Or just another dream. Unreal like her previous life.

7 Comments on “ATOM: Interlude I – Dal’coler”

  1. Oh, I already read this one! I read it out of order. *face palm* Reading it now in the correct order, I suspect that Lady Suriel was responsible for Tiyan’s parents’ death. And I did a quick search, and Bean sídhe is another name for Banshee. 😱

    1. Yes, it was her! She is bloodthirsty haha.
      I like using the names from folklore :> A lot of stuff in this dark version is taken from real irish folklore 🙂

  2. It’s been a long time since I read the old version, but I really liked this one. I think it fits better with the direction the story took. 🖤 Wonderful as always!🥰
    The impression I have of Leira is that she is really a strong and intelligent woman/fae. (Maybe even stronger than Nymre, I dare say.)

    1. Thank you! I had so much fun writing this version, giving Leira right words and thoughts 🙂

      Yes. Leira is very strong and intelligent, and all she went throught made her even stronger – or rather she, fighting it, made herself stronger. She is not a fae, but is immortal and her inner strength is indeed bigger than this of Nymre. She had to impress Lorian. He is not easily impressed, but Leira is something more.

  3. There she is <3
    I love how you described the attention that Nymre immediately has when she enteres the room and approaches the throne. How the whole court is interested in this woman and all eyes are on her because she has a special place in the hierarchy.
    You can almost feel the plots and schemes develop while she is under observation 🙂

    1. Yes 😀 She is a thorn in the eyes of fae. And plots and schemes are so… normal in this place 😉 It’s dark, cruel place. Just as its ruler :>

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