His limbs took the color of a coal, the flames sinking deep through every pore, to reside in his flesh, sipping blood and replacing it with pain.
Only pain. Cruel, beautiful, ugly and glorious pain.
Burning in his mind and in his tendons. Unquenched fire, which was eating him alive, making him scream in his mind, unable to open a molten mouth, trapped in the prison of his own body.
His black eyes becoming ink, boiling in his skull, seeing things only gods could withstand and not become mad.
It drilled with suffering into his spine, to drink from it and pull every string of his on a hot spool.
This was the price.
A price he agreed to pay.
When he woke up, sweat on his neck and chest, it still lingered in him, promising another day of liquid death.
Nymre slept next to him, her white, slightly lilac hair scattered on the pillow, her naked limbs splayed in a pose of complete trust. He could see her breasts, heaving in the darkness, beautiful and always tempting. Her body, youthful and perfect, couldn’t soothe the whirlwind that captured his thoughts and crashed them over hard rocks.
If she knew.
She would want to help. She would want to offer him relief, which he could never receive.
He would start to loathe her and her pity. Her knowledge of his weakness.
They were together for three hundreds of years. Long time. Very long He was aware how she sees him, sometimes – a lord ruling over her life, sometimes – her property, her eternal lover. Mixed in one, until nothing looked at it seemed. She thought she was his only woman, for all this time. For three hundreds of years. But no, his desires were going further, hungry as famished wolf. When his world was filled with burning suffering, which was making his life a living nightmare, he needed… even more.
She would never understand.
And he would never want to harm her.
Not her. Not after so many years.
Curse it. He felt it, this want, this dull roar of desire. He wanted her body, pressed tightly to his, hear her soft voice urging him to take her.
He needed her strength and stuborness, he needed her inner power. Her will to survive and her fire. The thoughts of her were rubbing his constant hunger.
He wanted to fill her with dark. Offer her the night, in which she could bloom for him.
His hands still trembled from the intensity of the pain that engulfed him in his sleep. He could stop that. He could stop bathing in god’s blood. Stop sipping power, stop it all. But he knew that now, at this point… he couldn’t. It was a trap that was closing more and more over him. He needed their delicious, hot blood, their flesh and soul, to continue living. And the gods, even in their sleep, knew that.
And if he stopped… they would awake. Taking magic from all the fae. Making them die a painful death, separated from their spells, from their life force. From their essence.
He didn’t plan to die. And he didn’t plan to allow anyone to kill Nymre. He didn’t plan to sentence his kind for death. Even if it all, their life filled with bigger and smaller lies was not perfect, he adored this life and needed it. Absolutely. The life, the world, it all belonged to him.
And he was hungry for power and desire running through his veins. He loved it, that when he was passing them, they felt fear and awe. His glamour and enchantment were stronger and stronger, as the god’s strength was filling him, every second and every hour.
But the pain was stronger too. With each bath, with each sip, he was suffering more.
The power had its price. And he wanted it, even if doubts were sinking deep, when the strongest tides of anguish were coming, taking his will and changing him into…
He never was afraid, in his whole long life. He didn’t plan now too.
If that young and naive human will continue to prolong it, he will remind him what awaits him and what awaits his sister. His sweet little sister, even more naive, even more capable of louds screams.
He needed him here. His patience was limited. Each day reminded him what choice he made and what he still had to do.
A sigh from his side broke his trail of thoughts.
Nymre looked at him, her big, beautiful blue eyes gazing into his face. Her raven mask was present even when she rested. Her hand reached to him and landed on his chest, with a lazy gesture.
“You are all in sweat” she murmured, half asleep, half awake.
He caught her hand, far from his skin. Her touch somehow awoken something that resided even deeper in him. Craving mixed with hate. For all what he became. For all what he will still need to become.
For all he could become, if he chose different paths.
“Sleep” his tone was harsher than he planned. She was too dazed to catch this change, though. Her hand wriggled from his grasp, fell over his abdomen and landed lower, unconsciously, just where he was always liking most. Where he was always even too hungry. Addicted to touch and pressure.
And… he loved it.
He closed his eyes, the pain still circling in his body, when Nymre moved closer. Very close. All he felt merged in him into beautiful and dangerous river of raw sensations.
He slowly took her hand and moved it, elsewhere. He didn’t need it now. No. He did need it, but his mind didn’t. Not where his flesh still pulsed with pain.
If he had choice…
… but his choices were scarce.
And the light could come much sooner, burning his eyes out, replacing the Shadow with the brightness of the sun.
Taking away winter, tearing it from his grasp, and pushing spring into his gaping throat.