The dining chamber was small, even smaller than his smallest bedroom. Not huge as main dining hall, or her own chambers. Nymre often pondered why Lorian chose such a place for today – of all rooms, this one, least exposed, almost hidden in the depths of the palace. Only one window filtrated meek light, making it look darker and… intimate.
Perhaps he wanted more privacy… or something bothered his mind and he didn’t want to be disrupted. Her lips crooked, when she thought that he might have other reasons. Like being completely alone with her.
She loved that Lorian usually had everything under control, but last few nights tested her in a most peculiar way. He looked pained and hollow, when he shouldn’t have, when he should feel pleasure. When she felt his aura around him, dark and beautiful, his eyes spoke different tale. They were blank… and she knew how to recognize emptiness in his eyes.
She wouldn’t be herself, if she didn’t plan to be inquisitive.
The dinner they were served was scarce. Fae never ate much, and they ate even less, being much older than most of their kin. The older they were getting, the less food they needed. Of course they could eat for pure enjoyment… but that seemed for Nymre a waste of time.
She took the fork and pinned the slice of a winter pear with it, her eyes focused on her mate, though. Lorian seemed completely uninterested with his food. He looked into the window with an almost absent gaze.
“Maybe a talk will amuse you?” she threw a bait, to see how he reacts. If he still drowns in personal gloom. “I see something bothers you. Share it with me.”
Lorian slowly turned to her, his smile, most natural in the world, beautiful like a crashing star – that’s what she wanted to see. But she somehow knew it’s not all. He still was sad, even angry, under it.
“Partially” he said, his eyes not dead and lonely, not empty and hollow. “It all goes too slow, Nymre. And the pooka messengers brought news, which I don’t like.”
Nymre raised her brow. That was new. Since she stopped being a outgoing spy, much more was escaping her. But she didn’t miss it. It was dirty, dangerous work, and kept her for too long far from the palace. Now she held the inner circle spies in her net though and was informing Lorian about moves in the court.
“Someone joined the boy. I wouldn’t be against it, if that young woman didn’t have her own plans, which may take his eyes from his mission. Maybe I should show him once again why he travels here… just a small reminder.”
Nymre thought that Lorian rarely looked so tense. But he had the right to, she felt it too, as time trickled through their fingers, like sand in the death’s hourglass. Others would not catch that on him, this slightly pressed jaws, this furrowed brow – more than usual – but she spent much time with him, looking at him from so closely, that she knew his body talk.
She shook her head, in defiant way.
Now, she almost regretted that she wasn’t among the spies. Her curiosity piqued.
“Why don’t you just send lesser folk after her?” her eyes gleamed with a well repressed night. “Besides, I assume he is motivated that we have his little sibling. I doubt he will resign from saving her.”
His smile crooked, and mocking.
“Ah, he doesn’t even know how to survive in the wilderness a day of walk from home. This would be unwise to remove his only chance to get here, without unwanted… turbulence.”
“So there is something in your words, when you said that you chose a fool” her eyes darted at him like arrows.
“A fool with potential. A fool with great untrained and chaotic power. Most dangerous fool.”
Oh, Nymre also knew how to use promising fools in her plans.
Lorian cut the apple with a sharp dagger and slowly put a slice into his mouth. Nymre thought that he was eating less and less. Even less than other old Fae. She wondered if it’s caused in any way by him passing one thousand years… or more disturbing factors.
She felt as if he didn’t tell her everything… and not because he didn’t trust her. Because it was hurting him. She slowly pushed a slight thought into him, a light dove of a spell, which he shouldn’t even feel. It fluttered towards him, and sunk into him. She could almost feel like it drowns in inky depths.
That worried her. Even more. He never was secretive towards her.
She almost admitted to him that she knows, even if she didn’t, to see how he reacts, to pull that from him, when something disrupted her. Lorian looked at the entrance, which separated the chamber from the corridor with a thick wooden door, slight annoyance on his face. Nymre felt that he uses mind talk and tried not to feel anger because of being interrupted.
And then, the door opened, and… she came in.
Nymre never liked her, she saw her as someone who uses her wit in raising to position, which didn’t belong to her. She was slightly off put by odd care her mate offered this low creature. She was definitely clever and knew how to learn. Nymre knew that she was amusing Lorian, but she disliked her being so close to him. Not that she was jealous. But Leira… disturbed her. There was something that indicated that she became less a human and more… what? The horns and tail Lorian gave her at the beginning, only intensified this feeling.
Leira bowed deeply and waited for him to allow her to speak. Lorian had to again use the mind talk, because she immediately brought news.
“My lord… forgive me for disturbing. Lord Vaein wants to inform you… One of your servants tried to escape.”
Lorian’s face still was a mask of complete calmness. Even shadows almost didn’t move, only slightly dancing in his hair.
“How vile…” he smiled eventually. “One could think that I treat them wrong. What a… lack of gratitude.”
Leira didn’t say anything, but Nymre knew that this time Lorian didn’t enter her mind. Nymre had to admit that she enjoys her discomfort which came with Lorian’s words.
She never understood Lorian’s affinity for this creature.
“Was he captured?” Lorian narrowed his black eyes.
“Yes, my lord” she looked just at him. Her eyes raised, slightly, almost invisibly. She would not tell, if that human had any chance, Nymre thought. She hoped that Lorian is aware of it too.
“Then we we at least don’t need to wait” Lorian regarded her long enough for her to lower her gaze. He nodded, like this gesture pleased him and smiled joyfully at Nymre. “We all wait nowadays. Very intriguing change.”
Nymre almost scoffed with dark amusement, swallowing her worries. Yes, they waited. And will wait even longer, if the vessel will take more time, trying to somehow keep track with this unknown woman’s plans.
“I think all of this proves that simple joys wait behind any seemingly annoying act” Lorian turned to Leira again. Then he smiled again, a honeyed, almost cloying smile. “Maybe we all need sometimes a good break from the boredom of existence. He definitely tried.”
He rised the glass of light wine and sipped a bit.
“Tell the guards to do what they usually do. And wait for me.”
Nymre this time couldn’t stop a tiny and dark smile gracing her lips.
There was some kind of tempting, alluring strength in Leira’s gaze, like she was not a human, but High Fae going to a battle. Strength that she never faced in a lower species. Not after Lorian took them as servants.
Leira was fearing Lorian… but she wanted, somehow, to keep his attention, and stay in his grace. Annoying, but understandable. But no one at the court liked that.
Definitely not those who Lorian punished because of her. Not those who tried to submit her and later suffered.
This silly girl was the reason for so many falls.
And yes, maybe Nymre didn’t want to admit it openly, but she was slightly jealous. Even if reasons were evading even her. Lorian never showed any interest in her, in any way other than amused curiosity.
When Leira left, Lorian smiled at Nymre, like wanting to brush all her doubtful clouds. It was her favorite smile of his. Filled with light enjoyment and a certain dose of hunger.
“So… I think this was not as urgent as she thought. But that reminded me that I chose this chamber for a purpose. To not be interrupted. Perhaps to share more time with you.”
The shadows drifted towards the door, and stayed there like guardians, sinking under them and warning all who had another… news for him. Nymre thought though that he allowed Leira by himself. She almost hoped that she will regret it.
“You like it now? When we are all alone and I am not able to leave?” she narrowed her brows at him; half serious… half not. More playful and teasing than anything.
Lorian took the apple slice in his fingers, well cut just near the core. A frisky smile on his face.
“You know I do.”
Nymre thought couldn’t stop thinking about their previous discussion.
Which they didn’t have.