Mina’s mind whirled and she felt like drowning in flowers. Thick, scentsy and mesmerizing. She knew she was led somewhere, she saw wings, beautiful, wide, feathered. They seemed to close over her, giving her safety. A voice was touching her sore soul, a voice that pulled her to sleep. But she wasn’t sleeping. She knew she put one step after the second step and her clothes tangled, and her hair windswept. It all didn’t matter though. The scent of roses was too prominent, a poppy spell, making her less and less conscious.
Her skin brushed against something. Someone’s hands were touching her, hands pale as snow. The eyes gleamed from the corners, curious eyes of curious creatures. The hazy light was entering through crevices in her eyelids, fighting with her pupils, caressing her irises.
And she heard the laughter. It held both beauty and madness. It was more beautiful than anything, but also dark.
Wake up. They lead you somewhere. Somewhere you don’t want to be in.
Her steps became fumbling, she stopped feeling her skin but the song still persisted – yet her mind tried to escape, to show her that something is wrong, that all of this… is more sick than meets the eyes.
“Do you want to dance?”
“Do you want to go with us into the grove?”
She wanted to say yes, but something brought snow boughs to her mind. And blood on the branches.
“Do you want to sink with us into the sunset?”
“Drink the night?”
“Kiss the midnight moon?”
I don’t want to go.
She almost fell on her knees, stumbling over her own feet. And the song cut, like sliced with a knife. Her senses started to be less numbed, her eyes – to see better.
She was in a large chamber, made of both stone and branches, tangled together in an almost artistic way. Trees seemed to grow straight from the walls, the marble floor – to breathe under her feet. The huge stained glass windows were made as walls, and depicted scenes which she couldn’t see well.
The chamber was filled. Curious eyes still gazed at her, close, closer, a hand touched her wrist and she turned her head instinctively, to see a woman with thick black and curly hair, clothed in black gossamer dress. Her feet were bare, like she didn’t care for wearing shoes, a nuisance good for more bothered person.
Her taloned hand caught her by her wrist and the woman started to look at her with almost obsessive intensity.
“Such a beautiful human” she smiled eventually. “Such delicate skin. I would envy it if it all wasn’t destined to wither.”
Mina tried to snatch her hand from the woman’s grasp, but her hold was strong and if Mina wanted to still try, she could lose a hand.
The woman’s eyes were alluring, big, green, but devoid of any human emotion. Mina felt bare under this gaze.
She pulled Mina harder, like she wanted to force her to go forth with her. Eyes everywhere. Beautiful, scary eyes.
A voice cut the air, and the woman in black – Areltha – looked at its owner, with a wide smile. Someone was coming their way and suddenly, Mina felt like awe and fear started to attack her from every direction, making her nauseous.
She bent in half and suddenly, a hand from behind pushed her hard, and Mina landed on her knees, the hard stone against her tired bones. She still tried to not throw up.
“This is how we treat our guests?” she heard a voice again, man’s voice, seductive and deep, like a murmur of the storm in the distance. “Maybe we should have them more often… to learn how to be good hosts.”
Areltha laughed lightly, and it sounded like pearls. She didn’t see any pearls in her life, but that’s how it would sound.
She lifted her gaze… to meet the completely black eyes of the man who stood above her, his hair moving, touched by elusive shadows. His aura was forcing itself through her skin – again, she didn’t know that, she just felt that this description is right.
“Where… am I?” she dared to ask, almost sure that the man- whoever he was – would just laugh at her question. But his features didn’t show any mock or amusement.
“I have a better question for you, little one” he leaned over her and looked deeply into her eyes. His own black holes seemed to suck the air around her. “Does your brother love you?”
That took her off guard. Her mind still was dizzy, still not contacting fully.
“You think so, my child? You think that your brother would come for you, even with storms and sun and death against him?”
Mina was sure that he would. It was Tiyan, after all. Her big brother. Her protector.
“Yes” she was really feeling more nauseous and the eyes around her started to resemble the cats’.
The man looked at her with intense gaze, strange shadows creeping from behind him, craving to reach her, to delve in her.
“Then, you are allowed to stay alive” he said, evidently pleased. He smiled and Mina for a moment thought that she sees sharp fangs, many of them, deadly and ready to sink in her flesh.
Areltha touched her cheek. The person who brought her pulled her up.
And the song again filled the air, throwing her into an unconscious jig of mirages and colors.
Made of pure danger.
But that, she didn’t see.